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LN305 European Gothic

Module Code: LN305
Module Name: European Gothic
Module Coordinator: Professor Fabio Camilletti
Term 1
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

This module aims to challenge Anglo-centric narratives of the Gothic, by putting in the spotlight trans-national and trans-linguistic exchanges between the French, German, and Italian domains in the ‘Golden Age’ of Gothic literature (1764-1830). By focusing on specific case studies of textual translation, adaptation, and manipulation, it innovatively brings together elements of translation theory, history of printed culture and history of the book, Gothic theory, and media studies. In particular, the module aims to strengthening students’ skills as researchers, by encouraging them to make direct fieldwork in a still underdeveloped area of scholarship and to undertake individual research projects assessed for the 50% of the final mark.

In 2022-23, European Gothic will be devoted to Fantasmagoriana (1812), the French-German anthology of ghost stories that inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) and John Polidori's The Vampyre (1819). We will start by analysing the connections between Fantasmagoriana and the popularity of 'phantasmagoria' shows in revolutionary France, between stage magic and a widespread fascination for the occult (weeks 1-3). The analysis of single tales and of their circulation across Europe (Germany, France, Britain, Italy) will enable us to discuss issues of translation and cultural adaptation in different linguistic contexts (weeks 4-5 and 7-8). The final two weeks will be devoted to Frankenstein and The Vampyre respectively, against the background of the 'haunted summer' of 1816. Reading these two seminal works through the lens of Fantasmagoriana will enable us to see in a new light the birth of modern horror and of two of its most iconic figures, i.e. the nameless 'Creature' and the vampire.

The module has been conceived in joint collaboration with the Library, and will foresee a dedicated session with Academic Support Librarians.

The module is available across the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, and does not require students to have language abilities in any specific language.


One-hour lecture and one-hour seminar per week, both face to face.


Assessment for 2023-24

10 minute seminar presentation (20%)

3000 word essay (80%)

Tales of Terror