Module code: ELI3065

Module Overview

The Gothic has been a fixture of British and American literary history and popular culture from its origins in the eighteenth century, and continues to capture and haunt the human imagination. 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- between, for example, self and other, human and inhuman, civilisation and savagery, public and private identities This optional level 6 module focuses on Gothic literary and cultural production from Horace Walpole's 1764 seminal Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto up to the stylized Goth aesthetic and obsession with true crime Gothic figures in twenty-first-century cinema and television. Drawing on a variety of literary and visual texts this module demonstrates how Gothic fictions are born out of hyper-tense socio-political and psychological states, symbolising and expressing anxieties about class, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality and gender. Gothic texts are situated in their historical, biographical, geographical and global contexts, offering a nuanced understanding of the proliferation of the genre across periods, disciplines and borders. As well as exploring famous Gothic figures of the vampire and the zombie, we also consider the Gothic as a mode of writing, and as a mode of cultural engagement with the traumas of post/modernity. The module confronts topics including otherness and the limits of the human, monstrous doubling, the horrors of addiction, grotesque transformation, and the ethics and dangers of science. It traces the evolution of the Gothic, covering: Gothic origin; European Gothic; Gothic satire; Romantic and Neo/Victorian Gothic; Female and Feminist Gothic; American and African-American Gothic; and Goth culture. Through studying the texts, debates and themes of the module, and through the assessments, you will develop transferable skills in critical thinking and reading, independent research and groupwork, presentation and communication, digital capabilities and analytical writing.

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

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 103

Seminar Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 3

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Gothic literature and culture;critical and theoretical approaches to Gothic literature; the movement of the Gothic across genres, periods, movements and disciplines. Questions for consideration include: What is the Gothic? How do we theorize it as a form of literary and cultural production? How does it move across disciplines? What is its attraction? What is its repulsion? Authors included on this module might include Horace Walpole, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, R. L. Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Toni Morrison, Angela Carter, Joyce Carol Oates etc.

Assessment pattern

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

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy, comprised of formative and summative assessment, is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate progress towards, and achievement of, the module learning outcomes. Through this strategy, the module enables students to build self-evaluation into the assessment process and to reflect on their own performance in response to peer and tutor feedback on the formative assessment before completing the summative assessment. Students may also request verbal feedback from tutors on a plan for the end-of-term essay in revision week, when assessment approaches and guidelines are workshopped.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in communication and professionalised 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 assesses subject knowledge in Gothic literature and culture; cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literary texts from the periods covered; and transferable skills in verbal and written communication.

  • The summative assessment for this module consists of: end-of-semester 3000-word essay

The formative assessment for this module consists of:

5-minute presentation in seminars of a review of the text for your chosen week (source, summarise and respond to review); your individual presentation will benefit from peer-based and verbal tutor feedback in seminar discussions. The formative nature of the assignment enables students to develop key communication and presentation skills in a supportive environment, which prepares students for future assessments in other modules as well as for a range of employment scenarios.

Formative 'feed forward' is provided throughout the module in seminar discussions, in verbal tutor feedback in seminars, and in one-to-one tutorials focusing on essay planning for the summative assessment.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: introduce you to the study of the Gothic in literature and culture: its tropes, origins, developments and
  • Broaden and deepen your knowledge of nineteenth-century, twentieth-century and twenty-first-century Gothic literature
    through a wide range of texts (primarily novels, novellas and short stories ) produced in the UK and the US
  • Promote your understanding of the theories, critical perspectives and modes of scholarship that underpin the study of
    Gothic literature and culture
  • Enable you to place Gothic texts within a range of relevant historical, cultural, social, political, geographical and global
  • Develop advanced skills in the close reading and analysis of literary texts, as well as in digital capabilities by using a range
    of online resources (e.g. surreylearn, online archives and collections, blogs)
  • Help you articulate and critique ideas and to construct complex arguments, both in class discussions and in written form

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module you will: have acquired a detailed and thorough knowledge of Gothic literature KC
002 Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the key theories, criticism, and scholarship which inform the study of Gothic literature KCT
003 Have acquired advanced skills in the close reading and analysis of literary and visual texts, as well as in the use of digital/online resources KCT
004 Know how to position Gothic writing within relevant historical and cultural contexts, be able to undertake independent research into Gothic literature and to communicate their ideas KC
005 In presentation (formative assessment), discussion and in written form, enhancing transferable and employability skills KCPT

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:

  • enable you to develop in-depth subject knowledge related to Gothic literature and culture, and hone advanced cognitive, critical and analytical skills in analysing Gothic literary and visual texts in relation to their cultural, historical and global contexts

  • offer a more comprehensive insight into the history of literary production by developing an understanding of the key theories, criticism, and scholarship which inform the study of Gothic literature

  • equip you with the research and writing skills needed to produce critically-informed analyses of literary texts and engage with contemporary literary criticism

  • support your productive reflection on the socio-political agendas of Gothic fictions and on your own place within theoretical positions, enabling you to undertake independent research on Gothic literature and to present your ideas confidently in both discussion and writing

  • facilitate, in weekly seminars, student-led discussions that develop in-depth transferable, practical and professional skills in (written and verbal) presentation and communication by working individually and in groups, developing your competence and confidence in working with others as well as conducting independent research using a range of sources

  • enable you to develop digital skills through use of online resources on Surreylearn, formative assessment Powerpoint presentations, and 'live research' in seminars using online archives and collections

The learning and teaching methods include: 

  • seminars

  • revision session in Week 12

At FHEQ Level 6, this optional module is delivered through a two-hour seminar per week. These seminars include the module tutor's presentation of some lecture content introducing key theoretical, critical and contextual material, but are primarily student-led, prioritising group-based work, collective discussion and interactive tasks in order to cultivate and demonstrate skills in collaborative analysis and communication. The module involves both guided learning and independent learning, fostering confidence in sourcing, reading, analysing and sharing responses to texts. At this level, the module involves a more sophisticated development of critical analytical and rhetorical skills, and more emphasis on developing students' knowledge of critical and theoretical discourses with which to approach Gothic texts. Students are invited to contribute to, and actively engage in, seminar discussions and debates, learning from and building on each others¿ opinions. Student-led formative presentations in seminars provide another opportunity for peer-supported learning. Students are expected to read extensively outside classes and to make use of additional material provided on Surreylearn in order to prepare for and participate in seminars. Lecture slides, reading materials, useful links, and questions for consideration will be regularly posted on SurreyLearn.

Attendance at classes is compulsory and may be recorded every week.

If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what has been missed, and prepare adequately for the next class.

Please see the student handbook for full details of our Attendance Policy, and for regulations on extenuating circumstances and assessment.

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: ELI3065

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital Capabilities: This third-year module is multidisciplinary in its exploration of Gothic culture across literary, visual, architectural and cinematic forms, and as such, necessitates students' use of digital platforms and resources to access (for example) film and TV clips, online archives and collections, and links to reviews and blogs, to support individual and collaborative learning and research. Many of these resources are uploaded by the module convenor to the virtual learning environment surreylearn as preparation for seminars, for revision purposes, and in order to conduct 'live research' (e.g. sourcing secondary material, or viewing artworks related to literary texts) in seminars either individually or in groups, according to the text/task. The module is designed to develop your digital skills and confidence in locating, accessing, analysing and using online resources in your seminars, in your own time, and in your assessments. It thus aims to advance your ability to conduct independent research, to support the production of original work in your essays, and to encourage exciting contributions to discussions and debates in class. Students are also encouraged to design and deliver Powerpoint presentations for the formative assessment, which are then uploaded to Surreylearn for the benefit of all seminar groups, and in this sense students work collectively and collaboratively to produce a new online resource. Use of digital mind-mapping-mapping will develop the ability to make connections between concepts, topics and authors. Building on previous modules in which students are expected to engage with Surreylearn resources, the more advanced digital skills developed on the module offer practical, transferable skills for employment and ensure proficient use of technologies central to a range of careers, preparing you for the world of work. In addition to building on the Victorian literature-focused modules at level 5 in its focus on the Victorian Gothic, this module shares dimensions with level 6 and MA modules in its focus on Gothic stage and screen.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The module directly examines the global contexts and influences of Gothic literature and culture, in relation to (for example) Gothic figures of the monstrous 'other', the zombie and the vampire, and in relation to issues surrounding ethnicity, postcolonialism, inter/nationality and xenophobia. Students are equipped to read literary alongside visual and cinematic works, demonstrating the importance and evolution of the Gothic in literary history as well as visual and popular culture. This multidisciplinary module develops students' awareness of the multifaceted nature of the Gothic and its global reach, whilst the diversity of the primary authors (including Toni Morrison) and critics studied on the module contribute to students' understanding of the broad range of perspectives on Gothic fiction. These are of course enriched by the seminar discussions and groupwork of students from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, with different understandings and experiences of the Gothic in literature, architecture, art, film etc. This module builds on content covered and knowledge gained in level 4 modules, in its use of theoretical perspectives (e.g. postcolonial, feminist, psychoanalytic) to approach Gothic texts, and its exploration of Gothic literature's global contexts and influences.

Employability: The module's integral cultivation of digital capabilities and global and cultural capabilities (as detailed above) supports students' development of employability skills that may feed into future career paths. This third-year module advances your independent critical thinking, expands your capacity to consider various perspectives, and hones transferable reading, research, writing, analytical, presentation and communication skills in seminars and assessments, assisting your personal and professional development. The in-seminar formative assessment and discussion enables you to practice presenting ideas confidently, clearly and fluently, and the end-of-term summative assessment allows you to demonstrate the culmination of these tools in writing, building on all previous modules. Formal (written) and informal (verbal) feedback on your assessments enables self-reflection and critical evaluation of your development on the module and the programme, equipping you for processes in the world of work.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Creative Writing 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 and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature 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 2024/5 academic year.