Tales of the Fantastic - CP815

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn 7 30 (15) PROF A Staehler checkmark-circle


Theoretical interest in the fantastic has increasingly developed over recent decades following the acclaimed seminal study by Todorov, The Fantastic (1973). Students will explore major works of the genre from several European countries in conversation with a range of critical perspectives (such as discourse theory, narrative theories, and psychoanalytical theory). The comparative nature of the module will also afford an opportunity to enhance understanding of the literatures and specific texts studied in their respective cultural contexts.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (5,000 words) - 100%

Indicative reading

Borges, Jorge Luis (1983), 'Shakespeare's Memory';
Hoffmann, E.T.A. (1814/1819), 'The Golden Pot';
Hoffmann, E.T.A. (1817), 'The Sandman';
James, Henry (1898), The Turn of the Screw;
Kafka, Franz (1915), 'The Metamorphosis';
Maupassant, Guy de (1883), 'The Hand';
Maupassant, Guy de (1885/1886), 'The Horla';
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (1818/1832), Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus;
Süskind, Patrick (1985). Perfume;
Wilde, Oscar (1890/1891). The Picture of Dorian Gray.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of a comparative approach to the study of literature;
Demonstrate a critical awareness of major developments in the concept of the fantastic as a literary genre with special reference to Sigmund Freud and Tzvetan Todorov;
Demonstrate systematic understanding of relevant literary, theoretical, and philosophical debates;
Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the intersections of the literary and theories of the fantastic;
Demonstrate a critical awareness of theories of the fantastic not as disembodied sets of ideas but as forces within institutions and/or reading communities.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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