About this course

Why are evil characters more fascinating than the good? Why are we drawn to literature that takes us to places that disturb yet fascinate, and how does reading such texts inform our thoughts and attitudes towards the world around us? This course explores the representation of evil through literary texts, survivors' testimonies and theoretical argument. Key themes include the propensity for evil within groups, including cults; the desire for a leader; and the way in which psychopathology is presented in literature and the 'true crime' genre. The texts chosen will be used to illustrate these themes and include: Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Art Spiegelman, Maus, Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter, Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Primo Levi, If This is Man, Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr Ripley and Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test. The course will also encourage discussion about the use of the word 'evil' and its place in the twenty-first century.


Subject Areas

Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.