Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Gothic Imagination
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 15 hours of lectures and seminars
Seminars / Tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Assessment  A critical essay engaging with theory and philosophy and involving art historical research (2000 words, plus annotated bibliograhy and documented illustrations)   50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  Two-hour examination (seen paper)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Identify key artists and themes associated with the Gothic/gothic
Understand the historical contexts and philosophical concepts undelying Gothic/gothic art

Provide meaningful definitions of the art historical term 'Gothic' when applied to medieval and Romantic art
Debate the usefulness of the label 'gothic' when applied to modern/postmodern and contemporary art and visual culture


This interdisciplinary theory module draws on and complements period and genre specific art history modules by identifying a number of recurring gothic themes and examining them in changing social, political and art historical contexts. It encourages students to make connections between topics, media and movements they might otherwise see in isolation.

Brief description

From the sky-scraping spires of medieval cathedrals to the ghoulish chic of contemporary Goth culture, from the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Hudson School to the nightmarish Gotham of graphic novels, from the first illustrations of Shelley's 'Frankenstein' to early 21st-century horror movies, the genre and media transcending gothic has proven an undying presence in Western visual culture.

The Gothic Imagination investigates major themes in Western philosophy and visual culture and relates the gothic to present day concerns and postmodern anxieties about war and revolution, human rights and religious freedom, disease and genetic engineering, ecology and apocalypse.

Drawing on 18th-century aesthetics, the writings of Ruskin and the Romantics, and late-20th/early 21st-century art historians, the module explores, links and interconnects the works of artists as diverse as Dinos and Jake Chapman, Thomas Cole, Anna Gaskell, Henry Fuseli, Cindy Sherman, Guillermo del Toro, William Blake and Gregory Crewdson.


5 x 1 hour lectures
5 x 2 hour seminars debating the points/ideas raised in each lecture. In addition, individual tutorial (as specified below).

  1. Mystery, Mastery and the Spirit (lecture)
  2. Religion, the Sacred and the Gothic (follow-up seminar to Lecture 1)
  3. Terror, Horror and the Barbaric (lecture)
  4. Revolution, Holocaust and the Gothic (follow-up seminar to Lecture 2)
  5. Awe, Power and the Sublime (lecture)
  6. Nature, Landscape and the Gothic (follow-up seminar to Lecture 3)
  7. Disgust, Monstrosity and the Grotesque (Lecture 4)
  8. The Human Body, Evolution and the Gothic (follow-up seminar to Lecture 4)
  9. Trauma, Ruin and the Haunted (Lecture 5)
  10. Society, Postmodernity and the Gothic (follow-up seminar to Lecture 5)
Feedback tutorial (1/2 hour per student)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Articulating ideas through seminar discussions and presentations, as well as academic writing skills in the essay
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent study through seminar assignment research and preparation
Information Technology Information retrieval from various academic research portals and online museum collection databases
Personal Development and Career planning Emphasis on professional presentation of research and annotated bilbiography using MLA style documentation
Problem solving In seminar preparation and discussion, essay research and writing, and in the examination
Research skills In seminar preparation, essay research and writing, and in the examination
Subject Specific Skills N/A (module is designed to be interdisciplinary)
Team work Themed group presentations within seminars


This module is at CQFW Level 6