Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

The Literature of the Gothic

Module summary

Module code: COML1031
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Claire Sheridan

Specification

Aims

This course will facilitate advanced study of literature and other media in the Gothic tradition from the eighteenth century to the present day. It will address questions of genre and of historical form, and situate these with reference to cultural anxieties and their expression, along with technological developments. It will draw upon a range of critical discourses concerning the representation of the sublime, the uncanny and historical trauma.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1. Analyse and discuss gothic literature and other media in a historically informed and critical manner

2. Demonstrate knowledge and advanced skills in reading literary texts and related criticism.

3. Locate key literary texts both in their contemporary context, and their legacy.

4. Apply close reading skills to poetry and prose and engage in detailed analysis of film and other visual media

5. Examine key literary texts through relevant critical discourses, - e.g. feminist, psychoanalytic, postcolonial, eco-critical approaches.

6. Present research tasks to a standard that will contribute to future employability as well as degree classification.

Indicative content

In term one, ‘The Romantic Gothic’ will begin by exploring the origins of the Gothic novel then move on to considering developments in the use of Gothic tropes during the Romantic period. It will focus on Gothic innovations as practised by authors such as Coleridge, Godwin, Byron, Matthew ‘Monk’ Lewis, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley. There will be a historical focus on the impact of the French revolution on Gothic writing and a theoretical emphasis on ideas about the sublime, and distinctions between terror and horror. This section of the course will cover poetry and short fiction as well as the novel.

Term two ‘Gothic Adaptations’, will follow the Gothic mode through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, considering developments in the Gothic sub-genres of vampire and ghost fiction, and accompanying this with relevant readings in psychoanalytic theory. Adaptations in form as well as genre will also be studied, and require students to analyse films and graphic novels in addition to prose and poetry. The two terms taken together will allow for an appreciation of the Gothic as a tradition that spans ‘popular’ as well as ‘high’ culture.

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures and seminars to include theory and project workshops. Screenings and workshops of relevant films. Tutorials to be provided on an individual and groups basis. Supplementary materials to be made available both as e-texts and as hard copy.

Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Essay 1
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1-6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 25%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 2,000
Outline Details: A close reading of selected passages from either ‘The Ancient Mariner’ or ‘Christabel’

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Essay 2
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1-6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 35%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 2,500
Outline Details: A thematic essay using at least two texts that have been taught on the course up to this point. Students will formulate their own essay titles.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Project
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1-6
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 3,000 (or equivalent)
Outline Details: Students will be able to choose one of four project options designed to encourage them to respond to the course in ways that emphasise transferable skills.

Pre and co requisites

N/A.