Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 5 x 2 Hour Seminars
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1) Critical essay  A critical essay engaging with theory and involving research. 2.000 words plus bibliography and documented illustrations.  50%
Semester Assessment 2) One 10-minute presentation  Oral, audiovisual (PowerPoint presentation), performance, or artistic response to a given topic (from the lecture/seminar topics)  25%
Semester Assessment 3) Lexicon  Five entries (words/phrases) per week with subject-specific definitions and three sample sentences per entry.  25%
Supplementary Assessment 2,000 words essay as above, different questions  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Supplementary examination (seen paper)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. identify key artists and themes associated with the Gothic or working in a gothic mode

2. understand the historical contexts in which modally gothic art was produced and the philosophical concepts associated with such works.

3. provide meaningful definitions of the term ‘Gothic’ when applied to medieval and Romantic art

4. debate the usefulness of the term ‘gothic’ and related terms 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 gargoyles of medieval cathedrals to the ghoulish chic of Goth couture, from the ‘venerable barbarism’ of Strawberry Hill to the nightmarish Gotham of graphic novels, from the first illustrations for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the latest episode of American Horror Story, the genre-crossing and media-transcending Gothic has proven an undying presence in Western visual culture.

Gothic Imagination is an interdisciplinary theory module that examines this dark current in visual culture as well as Western philosophy and relates it to historical events, postmodern anxieties and present day concerns about war and revolution, human rights and religious freedom, disease and genetic engineering, ecology and apocalypse.

Considered alongside painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors and installation artists are creators of other forms of material culture who work in media including film, television, and video games as well as fashion design and architecture.


1) Gothic Associations (Lecture 1)
2) Heritage, Heresy and the Canon (follow-up seminar to Lecture 1)

3) Gothic Identities (Lecture 2)
4) Politics, Terror and the Other (follow-up seminar to Lecture 2)

5) Gothic Bodies (Lecture 3)
6) Science, Creation and the Unnatural (follow-up seminar to Lecture 3)

7) Gothic Landscapes (Lecture 4)
8) Nature, Catastrophe and the Sublime (follow-up seminar to Lecture 4)

9) Gothic Visions (Lecture 5)
10) Civilisation, Ruin and the Haunted (follow-up seminar to Lecture 5)

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