The Supernatural in Music, Literature and Culture

A painting of two men on horseback encountering three elderly women with their arms raised.

Macbeth and Banquo Meeting the Witches on the Heath by Théodore Chassériau. Source: the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.


MIT Course Number

21M.013J / 21A.113J / 21L.013J

As Taught In

Fall 2013



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course explores the relationship between music and the supernatural, focusing on the social history and context of supernatural beliefs as reflected in key literary and musical works from 1600 to the present. It provides an understanding of the place of ambiguity and the role of interpretation in culture, science and art. Great works of art by Shakespeare, Verdi, Goethe (in translation), Gounod, Henry James and Benjamin Britten are explored, as well as readings from the most recent scholarship on magic and the supernatural.

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Charles Shadle, and Mary Fuller. 21M.013J The Supernatural in Music, Literature and Culture. Fall 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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