The Victorian Gothic

Trinity College Dublin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Victorian Gothic

  • Host University

    Trinity College Dublin

  • Location

    Dublin, Ireland

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    While the eighteenth century is still considered to be the age of reason, dominated by neo-classical architecture and rational conversation, in which the Gothic could only exist as a dark counterpart to mainstream culture (a reductive view of the eighteenth century), the Victorian Age itself is, to the general public, a Gothic one. The critic Robert Mighall points out that notions of a barbaric past are crucial to cultural understandings of Gothic and for this reason it is not surprising that the Victorians and the Gothic have become so closely intertwined to twentieth and twenty-first century audiences. To us, the Victorian age is the Gothic age. Julian Wolfreys claims that for the Victorians, the Gothic was literally everywhere: ?all that black, all that crepe, all that jet and swirling fog?These and other phenomena, such as the statuary found in Victorian cemeteries like Highgate are discernible as being fragments and manifestations of a haunting, and, equally, haunted, ?Gothicized? sensibility? (2002, 25). The Victorian period was a particularly fertile time and place for the production of monsters, and these monsters have refused to go away. This one-semester module will provide an introduction to monstrosity as an essential part of Victorian culture. We will analyze versions of the monstrous which emerged in the nineteenth century in a broad historical and cultural context that will allow us to shape an understanding of how these versions of monstrosity have been remade and reproduced in subsequent cultural work. Students will also be offered a critical introduction to the way that important developments in literary theory (such as historical, postcolonial and feminist debates) have influenced a modern understanding of the Gothic and will be encouraged to mobilise a number of key critical terms within their textual analysis. Religion and religious controversy will be of particular interest and the complex relationship between discourses of faith and the Gothic will be examined throughout the module.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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