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EN930 Gothic

Module on offer 2022-23.

The theme which will connect our weekly readings is Gothic Environments.
Through a wide-range of primary forms from late-eighteenth-century to the present, and engagement with secondary critical reading, we will traverse a variety of dangerous and weird landscapes and their soundscapes; journey through unsettling physical and psychical interiors; will encounter uncanny and terrifying animals real and imagined, and will experience hostile flora and fauna, in order to consider the relationship between the mode and genre of Gothic/Horror and the spaces and places that enable or resist it.

Gothic Literature: Basics of the Genre & Key Elements

Convenor and Tutor:
Dr Jen BakerLink opens in a new window

Term 2: Wednesday’s 10-12 (FAB 2.35)

Tutor Office Hours in Term 2:
Tuesday 4.30-5.30pm
Wednesday - 12-1pm in FAB 5.26
Sign-up via this link

Formative assessments in the form
of independent and group work.
1 X 6,000 word summative essay in Term 3
(students outside of the MAEL will have deadlines determined by their own department).

See the schedule below for the weekly reading guidance.

Primary Book List: Books that you need to acquire for the course, either by the library, or through purchase are below and on TalisAspire

Secondary Criticism The selected, recommended bibliography for each week can be found by typing in the module code on the library's reading list site


Preparation - I strongly recommend acquainting yourself with more general introductions to various ideas about what "the Gothic" is (not just C19th, but as a genre, and theoretical mode), by looking at reading companions such as The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle or Gothic: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, edited by Fred Botting and Dale Townshend. You may wish to read OUP's The Gothic: A Very Short Introduction by Nick Groom to refer to throughout the course.

There will be required secondary reading each week. This will be updated before the start of term.



(emailed to students Monday 21st November)

See the TalisAspire Reading list for the course for links to books in library

Week 1. Gothic / Environments


Chapter 1 of Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)


[read this critical work in this order]

Botting, Fred. Introduction: Negative Aesthetics” in Gothic, 2nd edn, Routledge, 2014, pp.1-19 and

Carol Senf. “The Evolution of Gothic Spaces: Ruins, Forests, Urban Jungles” in Dracula, edited by MM. Crișan, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Pages 1-11 of Sladja Blazan. “Haunting and Nature: An IntroductionHaunted Nature. Palgrave Gothic, edited by Sladja Blazan. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Manuel Aguirre. "Geometries of Terror: Numinous Spaces in Gothic, Horror and Science Fiction." Gothic Studies 10.2 (2008): 1-17.

Week 2. Gothic Foundations


[To buy or borrow] the rest of Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) – at least 3 copies in library and various e-editions.


Extracts from Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and BeautifulLink opens in a new window (1757) and
The whole of Aikin, "On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror; WITH SIR BERTRAND: A FRAGMENTLink opens in a new window." The Westminster Magazine, 1773, pp. 592-595. [plain text version]

  • Find examples in Radcliffe's novel that correspond with the critical reading.

Week 3. The Haunted House


Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of UsherLink opens in a new window” (1839) [to be provided or use any copy you already own]

[To buy or borrow] Helen Oyeyemi, White is for Witching (2009)


Nick Freeman, "Haunted Houses." The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story. Routledge, 2017. 328-337.

Gaston Bachelard, Chapter 1 (The House from cellar…etc - read from start of chapter up to what is designated "p.61" in this online version - just after Bachelard talks about Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado") from The Poetics of Space (1958)
Found this version today which is a pdf in case that help anyone!Link opens in a new window

Week 4. The Haunted Nursery


[Possibly to buy or definitely to borrow] Pam Smy, Thornhill (2017) – this one is the most expensive – unless you really want to own it (and it is a cool book) then I am waiting to see how many copies the library will buy (and these will likely only be able to be viewed in the library), but I also have two copies which I can set up on a rota for you to sign-up borrow at University (in the area outside my office) over say a two hour slot, you can take pictures and make notes of course and there will be a couple of copies in the classroom for us to share.


Roderick McGillis, "The Night Side of Nature: Gothic Spaces, Fearful TimesLink opens in a new window" in The Gothic in Children's Literature, edited by Karen Coats and Anna Jackson. Routledge, 2013. 235-250.

Margaret R. Higonnet, “The Playground and the Peritext.Link opens in a new windowChildren’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 15, no.2, 1990, pp.47-49.

Week 5: Contagious Spaces


[To buy or borrow] Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire (1971)

John Edgar Wideman “FeverLink opens in a new window (1989) [provided]


Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, "Meta-Dracula: Contagion and the Colonial GothicLink opens in a new window", Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 27, Issue 2, April 2022, pp. 292–301.

Robert Mighall, “Gothic Cities” in The Routledge Companion to Gothic (1st ed.), edited by Catherine Spooner & Emma McEvoy Routledge, 2007, pp.54-63.

Week 6. The Body as Landscape


[To buy or borrow] H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines (1885)

  • CW: This book has some EXTREMELY uncomfortable and outright racist passages


If you have time, then Chapter 6 (The Genealogy of the Myth...) from Patrick Brantlinger The Rule of DarknessLink opens in a new window: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914.Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2013

Week 7. Southern Rural Gothic


[To buy or borrow] Truman Capote, In Cold BloodLink opens in a new window (1966)


Charles L. Crow, “Southern American Gothic.” The Cambridge Companion to American GothicLink opens in a new window, edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017, pp. 141–155. Cambridge Companions to Literature.

Week 8: Haunted Shores


These short pieces:
Mrs [Mary] Robinson. "The Haunted BeachLink opens in a new window." (1800);
M.R. James, “Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My LadLink opens in a new window (1904);

[To buy or borrow] Andrew Hurley, The Loney (2015)


Jimmy Packham, "The Gothic Coast: Boundaries, Belonging, and coastal community in contemporary British fictionLink opens in a new window." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 60.2 (2019): 205-221.

Week 9. Polar Gothic


Samuel T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient MarinerLink opens in a new window (1797); [provided]

[To buy or borrow] Michelle Paver, Dark Matter (2010)


Katherine Bowers, "Haunted Ice, Fearful Sounds, and the Arctic Sublime: Exploring Nineteenth-Century Polar Gothic SpaceLink opens in a new window." Gothic Studies 19.2 (2017): 71-84.

Week 9: Gothic Space


[To buy or borrow] Stanisław Lem, Solaris (1970) [5 copies in library]

Secondary = extracts from critical works will be provided by pre-set groups.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes:
1. Demonstrate a detailed and advanced knowledge about the historical contexts that gave rise to this particular literary and artistic genre;
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of some of the key themes, topics, and debates that emerge in different kinds of gothic narratives produced in the long nineteenth century and their evolution.
3. Engage in significant critical debates surrounding such issues as gender, political rights, the nature of the human, the relationship between mind and body, questions of scientific and ethical progress;
4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the literary, cultural, and artistic narratives of an earlier era to relate aesthetic concerns and modes of expression to its historical context;
5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary and visual texts.

Skills acquired
• Students will participate and sometimes lead seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
• Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose;
• Through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.