Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Victorian Gothic
Code ENGL761
Coordinator Dr SJ Marsden
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2020-21 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15


Victorian Gothic enables students to develop a detailed understanding of the range of Gothic writing produced in the Victorian period and its relationships to other literary forms and genres (in particular, the Victorian realist tradition). Students will be facilitated in reading Victorian Gothic texts in relation to contexts such as new technologies, emerging scientific theories, shifts in religious belief and practice, and environmental and ecological concerns. The module will also introduce current debates in Gothic criticism and examine key theoretical approaches to the genre. Students will develop awareness of critical approaches to Victorian Gothic texts and engage with existing scholarship in their own critical writing.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary texts.

(LO2) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and systematic understanding of the political and ideological aspects of literary texts and how they can be situated within appropriate cultural and social contexts.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical appreciation of the ways in which texts can be situated within literary history, including issues of genre, influence, and creation and reception.

(LO4) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and critical awareness of current and new literary, critical and theoretical debates.

(LO5) Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources.

(LO6) Students will gain the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship.

(LO7) Students will gain research skills enabling critical evaluation of different research methodologies and selection of appropriate methodologies.

(LO8) Students will gain research skills to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research.

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of Gothic literature and its contexts.

(S2) Students will gain advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse.

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments.

(S4) Students will gain the ability to autonomously design and self-direct a genre-based research project.

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature.

(S6) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner.

(S7) Students will gain practical research skills to retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently.

(S8) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard.

(S9) Students will gain advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing.

(S10) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines.



The module syllabus will cover a variety of Victorian Gothic texts, which may include, for example, Gothic romance, the ghost story, sensation fiction and imperial Gothic. Students will be provided with a list of required primary texts and suggested further reading, but will also be expected to develop an additional bibliography of relevant secondary reading. It is expected that required primary texts and suggested secondary reading will be available through the library, but students will also be advised to purchase scholarly editions of primary texts. Students will be expected to read primary texts, and to undertake further independent study as appropriate, in preparation for seminars. A reading list will be made available to students via the VLE.

An indicative module syllabus might include:

- Gothic origins
- Gothic Romance
- The Gothic short story
- Sensation fiction
- The Victorian ghost story
- Fin-de-Siècle Gothic

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module is taught by fortnightly, two-hour seminars that will focus on set primary texts and include discussion of relevant critical debates and contextual issues. Individual feedback sessions will also be offered to students in order to facilitate discussion of the formative assessment and preparation for the final critical essay. Attendance at seminars will be recorded in line with SotA policy on attendance. Independent learning time will be spent on: preparation for seminars and reading of primary texts; recommended secondary reading; exploration of additional scholarly resources in preparation for the formative and summative assessment.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   12


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 137


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Annotated Bibliography  1000-1500 words         
Critical Essay  3000-3500 words    100       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.