Mystery & Horror Writing, Week Ten

Didn’t get to this post yesterday, but the theme of that class was “Revenge.” We discussed:

  • M.R. James’ “Casting the Runes” (from Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories)
  • Dan Chaon’s “The Bees” (from McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales)
  • Stephen King’s “Dolan’s Cadillac” (from Nightmares & Dreamscapes)

We talked about revenge stories and what makes them so powerful, focusing on the various elements of the stories (POV, how revenge is attained, character complexity, etc.). We also discussed fairness, justice, and narrative satisfaction.

Next week’s theme is “Murder in the Mansion.” We have a somewhat abbreviated class next week because of the Rosemont College MFA Reading Series, so we’ll be talking about:

  • Agatha Christie’s novella “Three Blind Mice.”
  • An excerpt from “The Locked-Room Lecture,” which is a nonfiction lecture about the locked-room trope in mysteries, delivered by a fictional character in John Dickson Carr’s The Hollow Man.

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