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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

The Popular Gothic Novel

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


Contents of the Course • The course discusses the defining traits of the popular gothic novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century English fiction. • The course traces the structures and implications of the various plots of the popular gothic novel that caught the imagination of the reading public in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain.• The course introduces the students to a wide range of eighteenth and nineteenth- century novelists who were practitioners of the gothic genre such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Mathew Lewis, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Charlotte Brontë. Objectives of the course • The course aims to introduce students of literature to the distinctive features of the gothic novel, an immensely popular literary sub-genre from the late eighteenth and nineteenth century. • The course deconstructs the narrative ingredients of this subgenre such as the supernatural (assumed and real), madness, and other insidious human behaviour in the context of the social, cultural and historical upheavals that were shaking up the social order of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. • The course will also encourage students to explore the different thematic configurations of the gothic such as the “female gothic” and “the imperial gothic” to understand the cultural and historical anxieties reflected and refracted in such narrative consciousness.• The course will also expose students to the complications in the gender dynamics embedded within the gothic narrative, and trace the literary and historical conditions that led to the construction of complex characters in this subgenre.INTENDED AUDIENCE :UG and PG students of English Literature.Researchers in Gothic Studies.Faculty of Literature seeking specializing in Gothic Studies.PREREQUISITES :NoneINDUSTRIES SUPPORT :British Library, American Embassy


Week 1: Introduction to the Gothic: Gothic Motifs
Week 2: Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho
The ‘Explained Supernatural’, Gothic Sublime, and Aristocratic Villainy
Week 3: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Female Gothic: Feminine Anxieties, Scientific Monsters, and Haunted Landscapes
Week 4: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Mocking the Popoular Gothic
Week 5: Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Byronic hero and ghostly women: Realism, Fantasy, Violence, and Cruelty
Week 6: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Gothic Symbolism and Rebellion
Week 7: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Grotesque Gothic: Spectral City, Allegory, and Morality
Week 8: Bram Stoker, Dracula
Vampires, Moral Degeneration, Late-Victorian Anxieties
Week 9: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
Imperial Gothic: Mysticism, Irrationality, Otherness and Empire
Week 10: Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
Gothic Crime: The Anxieties of the Past and the Future
Week 11: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Gothic terror: Dark Ambition, Aesthetics and Degeneracy
Week 12: Accommodating the Gothic in Domestic Realism

Taught by

Prof. A. Divya

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