This module explores the Gothic from its eighteenth-century origins to its present-day incarnations, examining in particular the conventions that have allowed this diverse and evolving genre to remain at once relevant and recognisable. The course focuses on the elements of terror, hauntings and transgressions and how these conventions are deployed and reworked by writers in key literary and historical moments in the genre's development, such as at the end of the end of the eighteenth century, the fin de siècle, post-war America and the millennium. It asks students to consider the Gothic within the social, political and cultural contexts that inform the novel’s various concerns about gender, sexuality, race, class and the law. There will be a strong emphasis on examining and exploring the theoretical discourses underpinning the shifts and developments in the major critical debates and trends. Students will be encouraged to relate textual and critical analysis to topics such as aesthetics, popular culture and literature, religion, social and political history as well as contemporary concerns such as marginalization, queer identity, the body and immigration. The module will demonstrate the ongoing significance of the Gothic as an experimental and evolving form that functions as a vehicle for political and social critiques and, as such, relates to concerns central to the study of undergraduate English and American literature.
This module appears in the following module collections.
Ten 2-hour weekly seminars and ten 1-hour weekly workshops.
Method of assessment
Assessment will be based on two essays of 3000 words each (45% for each essay, thus constituting 90% of the final mark).
The remaining 10% will be based on a seminar performance mark in accordance with the criteria published in the School of English Undergraduate Handbook.
Collins, Wilkie, 1859. The Woman in White (Oxford World's Classics)
Dacre, Charlotte, 1806. Zofloya, or The Moor (Oxford World's Classics)
Jackson, Shirley, 1959. The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Modern Classics)
James, Henry, 1898. The Turn of the Screw (Norton Critical Editions, 2nd Revised Edition)
Mantel, Hilary, 2005. Beyond Black (Fourth Estate)
Morrison, Toni, 1987. Beloved (Vintage Classics)
Armitt, Lucy, 2011. Twentieth-century Gothic (University of Wales Press)
Punter, David, 1996. The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fiction from 1765 to the present day (Routledge)
Hogle, Jerrold E. (ed.), 2014. The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic (Cambridge University Press)
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the level 6 module students will be able to:
1 Demonstrate an ability to study and respond critically to a range of Gothic novels published between 1800 and the present day.
2 Explore and analyse the dominant theoretical approaches underpinning trends in Gothic criticism.
3 Consider the readings within the social, political and historical contexts that inform the primary texts.
4 Consider the developments in Gothic conventions from the 1800s to the present in relation to the corresponding concerns about race, class, gender, sexuality and the law in the British and American contexts.
5 Investigate and question the dominant debates in Gothic criticism from the eighteenth century to the present.
6 Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the shifts in generic conventions and forms and their interrelationship to wider political, social and cultural discourses.
The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Apply critical reading skills in terms of close textual analysis and comparative studies, across a wide range of interdisciplinary materials.
2 Demonstrate the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and practice.
3 Display the ability to analyse, discuss and deploy secondary works (both critical and theoretical) from appropriate scholarly resources.
4 Develop powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency and enhance confidence in the presentation of ideas individually and as a group.
5 Demonstrate competence in the planning and execution of essays and project-work and identify and develop research questions and arguments.
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Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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