Surrey University Stag


Module code: ELI3031

Module Overview

The Gothic has been a fixture of British and American literary history and popular culture from its origins in the 18th century. Straddling both high and low art forms, appealing to elite as well as mass audiences, the Gothic thrives on blurring boundaries and dissolving traditional dichotomies. This module focuses on Gothic literary and cultural production from Horace Walpole’s 1764 Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto to the ubiquity of a stylized Goth aesthetic in 21st century cinema and television. Drawing on a variety of texts, this module begins by addressing how the early Gothic monster served as a trope of Otherness by highlighting fears and anxieties about class, ethnicity, race, sexuality and gender. We will then examine the complicated political trajectory of Gothic literary and cinematic texts from the 19th- and 20th-centuries and how, by 2011, the proliferation of Gothic figures in novels and on screen has led to a breakdown of traditional oppositions between human and monster, self and Other. In this, we will explore a new critical engagement with the limits of the human and a recognition of the ethical rather than ontological basis of the category of the human. Practically speaking, today’s Gothic monsters are often portrayed sympathetically and, in some cases, more ‘human’ than humans themselves.


Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

ROSE Lucy Ella (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: Q323

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 125

Seminar Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 3

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

What is the Gothic? How do we theorize it as a form of literary and cultural production? How does it move from architecture to literature to film to music and beyond? What is its attraction? What is its repulsion? How do we distinguish a US Gothic mode from British/European forms of the Gothic? The authors included on this module might include Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, R. L Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.


Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in communication and professionalized writing. It also assesses subject knowledge in Gothic literature and culture, and cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literary texts from the periods covered.


The essay [and/or exam] assesses subject knowledge in Gothic literature and culture; cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literary texts from the periods covered; transferable skills in verbal and written communication.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 3000-word essay (deadline in assessment period)


Formative assessment and feedback

  • Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback in seminar


Students receive feedback on their performance during the module by verbal feedback in tutorials and one-on-one meetings. Students receive ongong verbal feedback in seminars that informs the final summative asessment, i.e. the research essay.

Module aims

  • The literary and cultural tropes of the Gothic
  • The issues involved in writing about Otherness
  • The treatment of Gothic in a selection literary texts from English-language literature the British Isles and United States

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Communication skills (through seminar participation and essay writing) PT
002 Discursive skills (through essay writing) KCT
003 Analytical skills (close analysis of a selection of texts in class and in essay) KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive/analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical and professional skills. Specifically, the weekly seminars deliver subject knowledge related to Gothic literature and culture and develop cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literature in cultural and historical context. The weekly seminars offer student-led discussions that develop skills in communication and in working individually and as a group.


At FHEQ Level 6, this optional module is delivered through a two-hour seminar, and hence with more student-led involvement and more sophisticated development of critical analytical and rhetorical skills. As this is a research-led module, there is also more emphasis on developing students’ knowledge of critical and theoretical discourses.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 2-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

  • 3-hour revision session in Week 12

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI3031

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email:

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.