|Delivery Type||Delivery length / details|
|Seminar||11 x 2 Hour Seminars|
|Workshop||11 x 2 Hour Workshops|
|Assessment Type||Assessment length / details||Proportion|
|Semester Assessment||2 x 3000 word essays||100%|
|Supplementary Assessment||Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing element|
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Describe and appraise the main chracteristics of the Victorian and modern ghost story, both as an identifiable literary genre and as a varied tradition (from the mid-C19th to the early C20th).
2. Consider and evaluate the arguments put forward by Victorian and modern writers about the definition of the ghost story: its narrative techniques, its literary conventions, its creative possibilities
3. Engage with theoretical and critical debates on the uncanny and the ghostly as problems of historical, cultural and literary interpretation
4. Write about the subject in a well-structured and argued manner.
Haunting Texts will introduce students to the ghost story as a distinct literary genre, one that emerges in the early nineteenth century and becomes a dominant literary form in Britain from around 1850 until the First World War. The emergence of the ghost story will be linked to specific historical conditions in the Victorian era - an expanding readership, magazine publication, scientific developments, the cultural displacement of religious tradition - and also to a corresponding set of debates amongst Victorian intellectuals and writers about the supernatural and its literary treatment. The module begins by exploring theoretical reflections on the supernatural in the late Gothic tradition exemplified by Radcliffe and Scott, before moving on to the Victorian ghost story proper (Le Fanu, Dickens, Collins, Edwards, Lee). The reading for each week includes critical and theoretical commentaries, allowing students to focus on various aspects of the ghost story - vision, gender, location, fantasy, the uncanny, colonialism. The transition from the Victorian to the modern ghost story is traced in the work of M. R. James, whose texts dramatize the encounter of academic culture with the uncanny; students will read this text together with a viewing of Jonathon Miller's 1976 television adaptation, allowing them to consider the narrative problems and possibilities involved in transferring a ghost story from page to screen. And another James - this time Henry ? will be seen to make the apparition in 'The Jolly Corner' into a self-reflexive question of writing itself. A terrifying story by May Sinclair will next be explored in terms of its intertextual dimension. Ghost stories from the 20th century will be read alongside theoretical reflections on the uncanny dimension of modernity and colonialism, leading to an exploration of the ghostly dimension of theory itself, especially as manifested in psychoanalysis.
This module combines close textual analysis, intellectual history and litrary theory, covering a range of authors largely excluded from the existing syllabus for 19th century core modules. Likely to be interesting to Psychology & English (Joint Honours students).
Anne Radcliffe, 'On the Supernatural in Poetry' (1826) [e-text]; Walter Scott, The Tapestried Chamber (1829) [OBEGS 1-12]; 'On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition' (1827) [e-text]; J. S. Le Fanu , An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street (1853) [CGS 1-18].
1b) Workshop: what is the Gothic? Student-led presentations & discussion
2a) Victorian Phantoms
Charles Dickens, The Signalman (1866) [PBGS 91-104]; Wilkie Collins,
Mrs. Zant and the Ghost (1879) [CGS 30-58]; Julia Briggs, Night Visitors: the Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story (1977); Jill Matus, 'Trauma, Memory and Railway Disaster: the Dickensian Connection' (2001)
2b) Screening of BBC Television adaptation of The Signalman (1979); followed by discussion
3a) Ghost Feelers
Edith Nesbit, Man-Size in Marble (1893) [OBEGS 125-36]; Vernon
Lee, A Wicked Voice (1890) [OBEGS 87-108]; Mary Wilkins, The Lost Ghost (1903) [CGS 150-164]; Nick Freeman, 'E. Nesbit's New Woman Gothic' [photocopy]
3b) Workshop: Ghosts, gender and sexuality. Student-led presentations & discussion
4a) Phantom or Phantasm?
Fitz-James O'Brien, What Was It? (1859) (PBGS, 25-37]; Amelia B.
Edwards, The Phantom Coach (1864) [OBEGS, 13-24, The New Pass (1873) [CGS, 74-85]; Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Haunted and the Haunters: or, The House and the Brain (1859) [PBGS]; Srdan Smajic, 'The Trouble with Ghost-Seeing: Vision, Ideology and Genre in the Victorian Ghost Story' (2004)
4b) Workshop: Ghosts and Science. Student-led presentations & discussion
5a) Uncanny Things
H. G. Wells, The Red Room (1896) [OBEGS, 172-9]; Algernon
Blackwood, The Empty House (1906) [OBEGS, 222-35]; Ralph Cram, In Kropfsberg Keep (1895) [CGS, 141-9]; W. W. Jacobs, The Monkey's Paw (1902) [PBGS, 231-42]; Sigmund Freud, 'The Uncanny' (1919)
5b) Performing the Ghost Story (text chosen and performed by team of students); followed by discussion
6a) Ghosts and Scholars
M. R. James, 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad' (1904) [PBGS 261-80]; The Mezzotint (1904) [photocopy]; Ralph Harrington, 'So jarred were all my nerves: supernatural shock and traumatic terror in the ghost stories of M. R. James' [photocopy]
6b) Screening of BBC Television adaptation, 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You' (1976); followed by discussion
7a) Ghosts of the Self
Henry James, The Jolly Corner (1908) [PBGS 291-325] Martha Banta, 'Henry James and 'The Others' [photocopy]
7b) Workshop: Ghosts and Modernism. Student-led presentations & discussion
8a) Intertextual Haunting
May Sinclair, The Intercessor (1911) H. D. Everett, The Next Heir (1920) Richard Bleiler, 'May Sinclair's Supernatural Fiction'
8b) Workshop: Reading Trauma. Student-led presentations & discussion.
9a) Modern Domestic Ghosts
A. M. Burrage, Smee (1931) [OBEGS, 377-86; Elizabeth Bowen, Hand in Glove (1952) [OBEGS, 444-52]; D. K. Broster, The Pestering (1932;; A. S. Byatt, The July Ghost (1987)
9b) Workshop: the stylistic development of the ghost story. Student-led presentations & discussion
10a) Imperial Spectres
W. Somerset Maugham, The Taipan (1922) [OBEGS, 283-8]; L.P. Hartley, A Visitor from Down Under (1926) [OBEGS, 307-21]
10b) Module Summary and Reflection: group discussion
|Skills Type||Skills details|
|Application of Number||N/A|
|Communication||Written communication in the form of essays, oral communication in seminar discussion and team presentations.|
|Improving own Learning and Performance||Developing own research skills, management of time.|
|Information Technology||Use of electronic resources (JSTOR, websites), production of written work.|
|Personal Development and Career planning||By critical reflection and the development of transferable communication skills.|
|Problem solving||Formulating and developing extended arguments.|
|Research skills||Relating literary texts to historical contexts and theoretical commentaries, and by synthesizing various perspectives in an evaluative argument.|
|Subject Specific Skills||Detailed critical and contextual analysis of literary texts and evaluation of theoretical concepts.|
|Team work||Through group preparation and presentations in seminars.|
This module is at CQFW Level 6