This topic will explore one of the most persistent and pervasive traditions in English literature-the Gothic tradition. From its eighteenth-century origins to its modern mutations, the topic aims to show how Gothic fiction adapts to prevailing historical and socio-cultural conditions to expose and exploit our greatest fears. It will consider a range of familiar tropes-such as haunted houses, sites of ruin, ghosts, monsters, sexual predators, doubles, madness and secrets of the past-within a number of contextual and conceptual frameworks-including religion, the French Revolution, Romantic subjectivity, new sciences and technology, gender and sexuality, and industrial capitalism. The topic will also introduce students to a number of aesthetic categories-such as terror, horror, the sublime, the preternatural, the supernatural and the uncanny-that have helped to define the Gothic mode and enable its proliferation into other forms of media.
This topic aims to: