Techno-monsters from Frankenstein to The Matrix

Course Description

English 486.3
Topics in Critical Approaches to Literature. Techno-monsters from Frankenstein to The Matrix: A Literary History of Humans & Machines

This course examines the literary tradition of the "techno-monstrous" in English literature and film. Starting from the foundational philosophy of the man-machine in the Enlightenment, we will review the cultural impact of technology on the way we understand both the human and the monstrous. From the roots of techno-monstrosity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to the negative visions of mechanization in such films and fiction as Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, E.M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, to more recent dystopian works such as Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Riddley Scott's Blade Runner, and Larry and Andy Wachowski's The Matrix, we will explore the ways technology has been imagined, represented, and resisted over the past two hundred years.

Note: Students will be required to view movies outside of class time for this course.