Writer as Reader Workshops
Rewriting the Gothic: Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Egan’s The Keep
November 2, 2012
As a genre, the Gothic constitutes a turn to the past that is simultaneously nostalgic and subversive. Ruined castles, mysterious passageways, locked chambers, ghosts, graveyards, and sublime landscapes serve as portals through which characters, willingly or not, encounter embodiments of the repressed. In this workshop, we use IWT practices to examine the representation of traumatic memory in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep (2006). Pairing key scenes from each text, we explore how both authors deploy and manipulate Gothic conventions in order to unearth what is most deeply buried. Our questions include: How does the Gothic, with its reliance on masquerade, duality, and terror, create spaces for the forgotten to emerge into history, both on the individual and cultural levels? What happens when doppelgängers speak to each other? And can we locate the sublime in the Internet as well as on the moors? Participants can expect a lively conversation through a variety of writing-to-learn strategies about the ways in which the Gothic continues to resonate in contemporary society, and how we can bring this awareness to our teaching of these texts.
Texts: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (any edition; workshop leader uses the Norton Critical Edition, 2002) and The Keep by Jennifer Egan (Anchor, 2007)
Workshop fee: $150 (includes morning coffee, lunch, and workshop materials)