School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
This module explores the cultural phenomenon of the Gothic across periods and cultural forms, from nineteenth-century novels to twenty-first-century film. It considers how the Gothic in literature and film has evolved since the Romantic period to respond to different contexts and cultural crises, while also exploring the continuity of the genre’s preoccupation with monstrosity, deviance, and transgression. Students will study the techniques and strategies used by Gothic writers and filmmakers to transgress boundaries, inspire fear, and explore the meanings of otherness. In addition to developing their knowledge of literary and film history and their skills of formal and thematic analysis, students will gain insight into key theoretical concepts (from Romantic ideas of sublimity to Freud’s notion of the uncanny to posthumanism) and vital cultural debates (about race, about gender and sexuality, about the relationship between the human and non-human). Introducing students to some of the most exciting Gothic texts and films from the last two centuries, this module covers varied themes, including scientific and technological development; the cultural significance of such figures as doubles, ghosts, and vampires; the construction of otherness and monstrosity; the psychological ‘turn’ of Gothic literature and film; and the political resonances of Gothic texts.
The module's syllabus will be regularly updated, but you can expect to cover some of the following themes:
- Introduction to Gothic Film and Literature
- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Gothic and Film History
- the Uncanny in Literature and Film
- Ghosts and Haunting
- Queer Gothic
- Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Cultural History of the Vampire
- Contemporary Gothic
- Gothic, Race, and Racism
Rubrics for the individual assessments will be made available on the module Blackboard site at the start of the module. These are the general criteria for assessment.
Pass: Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: •Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas •Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner •Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers •Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic •Little evidence of background reading •Some uncertainty over language and syntax •Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative •In creative work: superficial •Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium
Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities:
•Discusses ideas, but without much confidence
•A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there
•Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned
•Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole
•Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question
•Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily
•Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class
•In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium
•Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times
Good: Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: •Discusses ideas adeptly •Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired •Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant •Shows analytical and clear thought •Gives evidence of relevant reading •Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. •A few minor errors here and there. •Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class •In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium •Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
Excellent: Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: •Discusses ideas with confidence and precision •Demonstrates maturity and sophistication •Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant •Shows independent, analytical and clear thought •Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading •Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language •Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought •In creative work: displays considerable originality •Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production
- Discuss the relationship between literary and cinematic texts and wider social, cultural and political contexts.
- Examine how the Gothic has evolved across different literary periods, cultures, and media.
- Explain selected critical concepts and apply them to the study of Gothic texts and films.
- Identify and explain the significance of some of the thematic and formal aspects that characterise Gothic films and texts.
Close Reading Exercise Students will produce two 750-word close readings. One of these will examine the cinematic language and visual composition of a film scene, while the other will discuss the formal and linguistic construction of a literary extract.
Option 1: Critical Essay + Annotated Bibliography For Option 1, students will write a 1,500-word essay addressing to one or two of the texts/films studied on the course as well as one of the key critical and/or theoretical concepts covered during the module. The essay will be accompanied by an annotated bibliography (ca 1000 words), where students describe and reflect on three critical sources chosen from a pre-released list. Option 2: Creative Piece + Reflective Reading Log For Option 2, students will produce their own Gothic creative piece (which may be a poem or set of poems, a prose passage or short story, or a film script), which should be no more 1500 words in length. This will be accompanied by a reflective reading log (1000 words), in which students explain how their piece was shaped by the texts and films studied on the course and by at least one of the critical concepts they encountered on the module.