The Witches; wicked women and the myths that make them

Course Dates: 27/07/21 - 17/08/21
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online
“I understood that legends weren’t lies but were ways of telling history,” says author Fernanda Melchor. Witches have been coming out of the literal and fictional woodwork in recent years, as a resurgence of interest in occultism and sorcery registers its centrality as a site of subversion. We investigate the different formal strategies artists have used to approach the witch as a cultural trope.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £48.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HLT243

Started Tue, day, 27 Jul - 17 Aug '21

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Call us to check if you can still join the course 020 7492 2652 (depart num)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online literature course investigates the figure of the witch as a trope and tradition with transgressive possibilities. A recent remake of the 1990 film, The Witches, directed by Nicholas Roeg and based on a short story by Roald Dahl, cements the revival of the witch while an abundance of recent texts interrogate the new centrality of the occult.

Tutor biography:
Phoebe Braithwaite is a PhD student in English at Harvard University and her work focuses on the influence of the intellectual Stuart Hall and the tradition of British Cultural Studies. She has taught courses on nonfiction, contemporary literature, and poetry.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Many of the works featured in this course have been written in the last few years: Fernanda Melchor’s Booker-shortlisted Hurricane Season is set in the Mexican state of Veracruz and was translated into English in 2020 by Sophie Hughes, having originally been written in 2017, while Amy Blakemore’s fiction debut The Manningtree Witches is to be published in April 2021. The course is also framed by nonfictional texts such as Silvia Federici’s ‘Caliban and the Witch’. Rebecca Tamás’s recent investigation of the type in her 2019 poetry collection, Witch, offers a lyric vantage point, before we go back in time to look at the witches in the novels of celebrated authors writing in the 1970s and 1980s: Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1988) and The Hearing Trumpet, written by Mexican British surrealist Leonora Carrington in 1974. We will also look back to glimpse Miyazaki’s Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), in the interests of understanding the witch as she works in different corners of the world.

Literature/Film extracts shown and provided: (texts to buy listed in no.6)

Nicholas Roeg/Roald Dahl, The Witches (film – extracts shown)
Hayao Miyazaki, Kiki's Delivery Service (film – extracts shown)
Silvia Federici, ‘Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women’ (provided)
‘Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation’ (provided)
Rebecca Tamas, Witch (excerpt provided)
A K Blakemore, The Manningtree Witches (excerpt provided).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

-Leave the course more conversant in the big themes and ideas it discusses.
- Feel comfortable describing the texts we look at over the four weeks’ of our meetings
-Understand the different formal strategies artists have used to approach the witch as a cultural trope.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for anyone with an interest in the subject matter.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Classes will consist in a mixture of short lectures aided by PowerPoint presentations, large and small group discussions, group exercises and solitary reading and thinking prior to class which will help us in our activities.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please borrow or buy:
Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season (Fitzcarraldo, 2020)
Toni Morrison, Beloved (Picador, 1988)*
Leonora Carrington,The Hearing Trumpet (Penguin, 2005).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The tutor will also be teaching HLT242 Caribbean voices: writers of the Windrush generation.
Look up other literature courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/literature.

Phoebe Braithwaite

Phoebe Braithwaite is a PhD student in English at Harvard University and her work focuses on the influence of the intellectual Stuart Hall and the tradition of British Cultural Studies. She has taught courses on nonfiction, contemporary literature, and poetry.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.