Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Looking For Help -- English Honors: Antebellum

Hey, new project: English Honors.

I decided today to try and pull together an extended creative writing project for Honors in the English Degree, as I'll be graduating in the Spring. The proposal is due this week, so I'm pulling together some initial plans and thinking about some of the things I should consider as I approach this project.

First, a basic overview: my goal is to present plague-era medieval Europe in a creative piece of fiction in such a manner that it feels like a post-apocalyptic journey story (The Road, Mad Max, etc.)

Unfortunately, despite my general interest and familiarity with both the genre (post-apocalyptic) and the history (plague-ear Europe), I haven't actually read/watched anything the specifically fits into either of these categories.

That's where all of you come in. I'm looking for recommendations (from anyone, really) of things to read that would help me familiarize myself with the two above topics, with an eye toward using this list to form a foundation of "research" for my Honors project.

If anything springs to mind, or if you have any questions about what it is I'm doing, please leave a comment below.

Thank you. Until next time...
-josh k.

1 comment:

  1. Poe's The Masque of the Red Death is the obvious choice, as well as Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. As for movies, The Seventh Seal fits the plague era theme and references Revelations throughout. Try meeting with Dr. Dashke from PHRE; he recently wrote a book about apocalyptic themes. He'll be able to give you some reasons why people find the apocalypse so appealing, which I'm sure you can exploit.

    Post-apocalyptic settings have been very popular in video games lately. Fallout, Bastion, Portal/Half Life, Stalker and about a hundred other titles are drawing from this well. Even the new Batman game has some similar themes. One thing I have noticed is these games are perfect for visual storytelling. For example, in New Vegas there is a house with two skeletons sitting at a table. On the table are a couple of guns and a poker hand for each skeleton, one of which has too many aces. Just from observing the environment one can piece together what happened to these people without a single word of explanation. Applying this to your project I would suggest that your setting is going to be the one of most interesting and important characters you have; doubly so when you consider how you can subvert the inherently uplifting gothic architecture of the time.

    Also, I don’t know much about where you plan on going with this, but your setting is picture perfect for the horror genre. As an invisible, unknowable enemy that can’t be confronted and has no regard for its victims, the plague is just begging to be anthropomorphized. I’m thinking like a stranger who moves in your peripheral vision, always there but never for long. Then again, I like horror more than the average person so this might just be a personal bias. Either way I wouldn’t mind seeing how your project turns out.