The Gothic Tradition

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Module code


This module examines in detail important Gothic works by British and Irish poets and prose writers chiefly of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition to key practitioners of the mode (Radcliffe, Shelley, Hogg, Stevenson, and Stoker), we will revisit influential but largely overlooked writers, including John Polidori, author of The Vampyre, a satire on Byronism; The Graveyard School, a loose and competing collective of religious and philosophical poets; Catherine Sinclair, a prolific contributor to periodicals; and others. As well as studying these works in their own contexts, we will consider the legacy of Gothic literature up to and including the present day.


Coursework (100%) consisting of:

  • a reading journal comprising short weekly extracts (30%)
  • a research essay of not more than 5,000 words (70%)

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of:

  1. a variety of influential Gothic works;
  2. theoretical and critical questions raised by the rise and development of the Gothic novel;
  3. key literary movements and fashions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries;
  4. a more developed sense of the ways in which Gothic works respond to and question social concerns.


  • introduce students to the work of some of the most influential authors of Gothic writing produced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain and Ireland; 
  • build on students' knowledge of literary movements and contexts studied at undergraduate level (e.g. module EN22002 Romantic to Victorian Literature and module EN31007 Romantic and Gothic Literature, 1760-1830);
  • explore the rise and development of the Gothic novel in relation to other established genres and modes;
  • engage with critical and theoretical approaches to Gothic literature.


Dr Daniel Cook


The module will be taught by seminar.  Film screenings may also be available, subject to demand.