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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Gothic Literature (ENLI07002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will explore the origins and development of Gothic literature, tracing the cultural phenomenon from its original literary roots to its later manifestations in 19th, 20th and 21st-century culture. Students will read a selection of Gothic literature, spanning over 200 years, and will be asked to explore the key elements of the genre and examine the ways in which the genre has developed.
Course description
The course will begin by tracing the roots of Gothic writing in the late 18th-century, considering and examining the fascination with cultural modes that pre-date the Age of Enlightenment (including ancient mythologies, paganism and Medieval and Renaissance Christianity). After studying an example of 18th-century Gothic fiction, we shall examine the mainstream of 19th-century Gothic fantasy, both in its early Romantic incarnation and in its later Decadent phase. We shall then examine some late 20th-century 'genre fiction', and conclude by considering examples of the Postmodern Gothic written in the early 21st-century. Throughout the course, we shall consider and evaluate the influence Gothic literature has on other forms of popular culture (film, TV, visual art, music, etc.), and on other genres such as horror and fantasy.

Through mini-lectures and tutorial discussion, students will be asked to consider the key elements, motifs, literary devices and stylistic characteristics of Gothic texts, and compare and contrast the use of these across the breadth of the reading list. In doing so, students will develop skills in close reading, critical analysis, academic writing and will gain confidence in sharing their ideas aloud during guided tutorial discussion. Students will be encouraged to read widely, and to use appropriately scholarly secondary reading and an awareness of contemporary responses to the texts to inform their discourse. Students will be asked to read the texts independently, and to then engage with them deeply through close-reading activities during class hours. Tutor-led discussion will take place in a supportive tutorial atmosphere. At each stage, students will be introduced to examples of film, music and visual art influenced by the Gothic genre, and be asked to consider the texts in their broader cultural context.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify key elements, motifs, literary devices and stylistic characteristics of the Gothic literature genre and compare and contrast these across a broad selection of texts;
  2. Construct clear and coherent arguments using recognised critical terminology;
  3. Examine Gothic literature's influence on other forms of popular culture, and demonstrate an awareness of the cultural and historical contexts in which the texts were written.
  4. Interpret and evaluate secondary reading and contemporary responses to the texts, and use these interpretations when presenting arguments.
Reading List
Brite, Poppy Z (2010) Lost Souls, London, Penguin Books

Groom, Nick (2012) The Gothic: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford & London, Oxford University Press

Lee, Tanith (2011), To Indigo, London, Immanion Press

MacDonald, George (2013) Lilith: A Romance, New York, Stonewell Press

Poe, Edgar Allan (2003), The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings, London, Penguin Classics

Walpole, Horace (2008), The Castle of Otranto, Oxford & London, Oxford World┐s Classics

Botting, Fred (2013) Gothic (The New Critical Idiom), 2nd edition, London, Routledge

Davenport-Hines, Richard (1998) Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin, London, Fourth Estate

Stevens, David (2000), The Gothic Tradition (Cambridge Contexts in Literature), Cambridge & London, Cambridge University Press

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking
Analytical thinking
Communication of ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing
Course organiserMs Rachael King
Course secretary
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