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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.
UG and PG students of English Literature.Researchers in Gothic Studies.Faculty of Literature seeking specializing in Gothic Studies.
INDUSTRIES 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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