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Haunted Britain

EN2N1/EN3N1 Haunted Britain


Prof. Michael Gardiner and Dr Jen Baker

Contact hours:

1 x weekly 90min seminar


This module aims to introduce students to the various ways in which popular and literary texts, media, and other cultural forms from the early c20th to the present engage with sub-genres or modes of Gothic and Horror to negotiate, interrogate, and track what has and continues to Haunt “Britain” in its imperial and post-imperial condition, as a geographical locale, ideology, cultural space and more. The course is divided into four units each exploring a different concept.

Please note that these seminars will take place with minimal use of laptops or devices - there may be times you are asked to have these closed/off for a portion of the session to concentrate on discussion. Participants should use a copy of the paper book or notes. If this causes any accessibility issues, let us know.


Intermediate - 2 x 3000 word essay

Finalists - 2 x 3500 word essay

List of texts to acquire or borrow for 2024/25

  • please note you will need access to the text - preferably in physical form, or your comprehensive notes in the case of visual/audio texts - in the seminar
  • in some cases specific editions are recommended - look out for those.
  • You need to have read the first text for first week of term. Summer reading is encouraged.
  • You should access the unit outlines, the specific week-by-week syllabi for each unit, required secondary reading, and recommended further readings by clicking on the subpages above for Term 1 and Term 2 respectively.

Term 1 overview
(see tab above for weekly syllabi and more information)

Unit 1 - Nuclear Ghosts

H.G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914
Leslie Mitchell, Gay Hunter,1935
John Wyndham, The Chrysalids,1955
Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker, 1980
Wr. Troy Kennedy Martin, dir. Martin Campbell, Edge of Darkness,1985

Unit 2 - Folk Horror

Peter Dickinson, The Weathermonger, 1968
Wr. Anthony Shaffer, dir. Robin Hardy, The Wicker Man, 1974
Doris Lessing, Memoirs of a Survivor, 1975
Lucy McKnight Hardy, Water Shall Refuse Them, 2019

Term 2 overview
(see above tab for weekly syllabi and more information)

Unit 3 - Strange, Magickal, Uncanny: Histories and Futures

Helen Cresswell, Moondial Link opens in a new window(1987)

Danny Robins, dir. The Witch FarmLink opens in a new window (2022)

Jeremy Dyson, The Haunted Book Link opens in a new window(2012)

Hilary Mantel, Beyond BlackLink opens in a new window (2005)

Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of LondonLink opens in a new window (2011)

Unit 4: (Neo)Victorian Crimes and Mysteries: Facts and Fictions

Kate Summerscale, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Link opens in a new window(2008)

Graeme Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick MacraeLink opens in a new window (2015)