Late Victorian Gothic: Texts and Contexts

Module code: EN3128

Although the genre of supernatural fiction known as 'Gothic' first came to prominence in the late 18th century, its preoccupations with transgression, terror and taboos, as well as its opposition to standard forms of realism, have re-emerged at various times over the last two hundred years.  This module will consider the resurgence of Gothic themes and narrative strategies in fictional writing from the final decades of the nineteenth century, examining how this distinctively Victorian form of the Gothic was related to the social, political and intellectual anxieties of the fin-de-siècle period. There will be a particular emphasis on issues such as gender, race, urbanism and identity, and fictional texts will be read alongside a wide variety of contextual material. Late Victorian Gothic writing will also be compared with both earlier and later manifestations of the genre, including the re-writing of nineteenth-century Gothic conventions in contemporary cinema.