Ghost stories, horror novels, ancient European tribes, medieval churches, dystopian megacities, revolutions and reactions, constitutions and tales of chivalry – all of these are Gothic. This module sets out to excavate the complex cultural history of the Gothic that connects them. The module builds on the recent critical reassessment of Gothic as a term with specific historical meanings: freedom or slavery, piety or superstition to the eighteenth and nineteenth century; horror, abjection, and transgression in the present day. By uncovering a larger context, students achieve a resonant experience and a rich critical understanding of the global cultural phenomenon of ‘the Gothic’.
The main focus of this module is Gothic literary writing, from the eighteenth century to the globalized present, studied alongside film and tv, cartoons, video games, and digital platforms and memes. Texts are studied as contemporary cultural documents, set within the context of a rich genre history of over 250 years and of important concepts and approaches that have emerged from the Gothic, such as abjection, cryptonomy, hauntology, and Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO).
By studying and discussing Gothic texts, learners will develop advanced skills in critical thinking, persuasive writing, and genre analysis.
Overall the module aims to:
• Introduce students to the cultural phenomenon and ‘tradition’ of the Gothic, covering texts which are common cultural reference points, historic and contemporary;
• Provide critical and conceptual frameworks for thinking about and interpreting these texts;
• Encourage students to consider relationships between texts and contexts, production and reception, in local and global perspectives;
• Encourage students to develop original and persuasive readings of texts, informed by close reading and knowledge of key contexts and critical perspectives
A. produce independent critical analyses of the Gothic in literature and culture
B. demonstrate critical understanding and awareness of the cultural phenomenon of the Gothic in historical and cross-cultural perspectives
C. structure coherent, perceptive and reflective responses to a variety of Gothic texts in a range of different media (prints, novels, audio recordings, films, etc.)
The teaching sessions are divided into lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce relevant knowledge and ideas. Seminars facilitate reflective critical discussions about specific texts and contexts.