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ENGL.3950-031: Special Topics in English: Stephen King and Genre

Special Topics in English: Stephen King and Genre ENGL 3950-031 

Stephen King is world-renowned as the master of horror, but his stories actually cross into many genres, including crime fiction, fantasy, children’s literature, science fiction, stories about sports, and the Western, as well as genres of writing less easily categorizable. This fall, we will read novels and short stories written by King that contain elements of these genres as well as a few of the writers who work in similar genres, many of whom have influenced King’s work directly. You will have many opportunities to discuss what we’re reading, build towards insights through collective inquiry, and investigate subjects you find particularly fascinating based on your own interests. This course will require multiple writing assignments and essays, including a research project. 

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 

  • Situate the writing of Stephen King within literary history, the technologies of publishing and storytelling, and the concept of genre 
  • Articulate some of the central theoretical and critical concerns of genre theory 
  • Explain some of the major distinctions between various literary genres and the limits of “genre” as a concept 
  • Conduct secondary source research on subjects related to this major contemporary American author and to genre 
  • Analyze King’s writing by paying close attention to textual detail and crafting a thesis-driven argument supported by this explication and formatted using MLA citation style