This course aims to provide students with an understanding of a significant and influential literary genre within a broad historical context (Romantic and Victorian). We will concentrate on classic gothic novels (Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, John Polidori's The Vampyre, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) but will also consider gothic features in the literature and art of the period. At the same time we shall explore the genre’s relation to notions of identity, sexuality, power and imperialism. Attention will be given to the specific socio-historical conditions which produced the gothic form as well as to the ways elements of the genre (e.g. the fantastic, its psychological dimension) persisted throughout the nineteenth century, undergoing various transformations. By the end of the course students will be expected:
Assessment: 1) Final exam only or 2) Final exam (60%) and an essay of around 4,000 words (40%).