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

Undergraduate Course: Haunted Imaginations: Scotland and the Supernatural' (ENLI10349)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore representations of the supernatural - tracing a chronological trajectory from the early modern to the contemporary moment - in a diverse range of Scottish writing by both canonical and non-canonical writers. It encompasses traditional forms such as ballads and folktales, Romantic and Victorian fictions, and contemporary fantasy and fabulisms. Scotland's traditional cultural, literary, and mythic associations with the otherworld are well-attested; but the course will encourage you to explore and examine critically the notion of a distinctively 'northern Gothic', and to attend closely to the ways in which this body of literature manifests what Marina Warner calls the 'inextinguishable famishing for the fantastic' ; the diversity of ghosts, fairies, witches, and other creatures which haunt this body of literature.
Course description We will examine and evaluate the contribution of Scottish writers to specific genre and modes for example, Gothic fiction, ghost story, fairy tale, and their contemporary reimaginings and revisions. We will also seek to place the representation of these diverse 'spirit worlds' within appropriate aesthetic, cultural, and social contexts. We shall explore whether certain types or kinds of 'supernaturalism' relate to specific cultural fears and anxieties; if and why Scottish culture is subject to particular kinds of 'haunting'; and whether 'haunted' fictions have subversive or political potential. Throughout we will pay close, sensitive attention to the primary materials in order to elucidate their aesthetic, psychological, and cultural implications.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025)) OR ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesA MINIMUM of three college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as civilisation or creative writing are not considered for admissions to this course.
Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course having three to four literature classes at grade A.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000 word coursework essay (30%) submitted mid-semester;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period (70%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and evaluate the principal literary and artistic modes and genres used by Scottish writers to create fictions of the supernatural
  2. Analyse key formal literary strategies, devices, and tropes deployed in this literature in order to explore the aesthetic configuration of 'spirit worlds'
  3. Discuss the influence of traditional oral forms (ballad, folktale) on literary writing
  4. Provide appropriate historical and cultural contextualisation
  5. Discuss and evaluate 'the supernatural' within suitable critical and theoretical paradigms
Reading List
Week 1 Introduction (George mackay brown, 'Andrina', available as a pdf on Learn)

Week 2 The Traditional Supernatural: ballads and folktales*

Week 3 Romantic Gothic - James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Week 4 Victorian Ghosts: Margaret Oliphant

Week 5 J.M. Barrie and the Gothic: Peter Pan and Mary Rose

Week 6 Witches & witchcraft - Munro's The Last Witch

Week 7 Female Gothic: Elspeth Barker's O Caledonia! Marion Angus: poetry*

Week 8 Writing week

Week 9 Contemporary Hauntings I: Ali Smith's Hotel World.

Week 10 Contemporary Hauntings II: A Robertson's The Testament of Gideon Mack

Week 11 Reflections and Conclusions
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordssupernatural Gothic fantasy Scotland
Course organiserDr Gerard McKeever
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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