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July 13, 2000

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Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 301C
Phone: 813-974-9485

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Gothic Literature, 1760-1820

LIT 4930:001

Fall 2000
Time: Tue. and Thur. 12:30-1:45 p
Room: TBA

    Course Description

    This course examines the classic texts of an infamous genre populated by hero-villains and na´ve innocents, moldering castles and damp dungeons. We will explore the relationship between dominant culture and the dark underside represented, as well as the recurrent themes of sex, sin, family dynamics, politics and nature. Following current scholarship, we will pose questions about belief in the supernatural, representations of violence, the significance of fantasy and fear, and the role of gender, race, class and sexuality.


    This course is designed to meet the following objectives:

    for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the founding texts of the gothic genre;

    for students to demonstrate an understanding of the historical contexts of the works of these periods and the relationship between history and the gothic genre;

    for students to form and express critical opinions about the themes and developments in the literature through cooperative learning strategies in the classroom and through weekly electronic discussions.

Required Materials

Four Gothic Novels; The Castle of Otranto - Vathek - The Monk - Frankenstein(Oxford UP, 1994)

Clara Reeve, The Old English Baron (in manuscript -- information available in class)

William Godwin, Caleb Williams (Penguin, 1988)

Ann Radcliffe, The Italian (Oxford UP, 1998)

Fred Botting, The Gothic (Routledge, 1995)

(2) 3.5" Floppy disks

Electronic Media

For an general introduction to List-serv and Internet functions, see USF Academic Computing Home Page.

Course List-serv -- information on this to follow --

My website: information on class, assignments and links to other important sites on literature, etc.

Other important websites are listed in the schedule of reading and following the assignments.


(All assignments must be read in full by the first date on the syllabus.)

Class Date Reading Assignment
1 Aug 29 Introduction
2 Aug 31 Botting, 1-54 Post #1
3 Sep 5 Walpole, Castle of Otranto
4 Sep 7 " " Post #2
5 Sep 12 " "
6 Sep 14 Reeve, The Old English Baron Post #3
7 Sep 19 " "
8 Sep 21 " " Post #4
9 Sep 26 EXAM
10 Sep 28 Botting, chap. 4 and articles TBA Post #5
11 Oct 3 Lewis, The Monk
12 Oct 5 " " Post #6
13 Oct 10 " "
14 Oct 12 " " Post #7
15 Oct 17 Radcliffe, The Italian
16 Oct 19 " " Post #8
17 Oct 24 " "
18 Oct 26 " " Post #9
19 Oct 31 EXAM
20 Nov 2 Botting, chapter 5 and articles TBA Post #10
21 Nov 7 Godwin, Caleb Williams
22 Nov 9 " " Post #11
23 Nov 14 " " Draft of Essay due
24 Nov 16 Library Assignment
25 Nov 21 Godwin, con't. Workshop drafts
26 Nov 23 No Class - Thanksgiving
27 Nov 28 Shelley, Frankenstein Post #12
28 Nov 30 " "
29 Dec 5 " " ESSAY DUE
30 Dec 7 " " Post #13

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Graded Assignments

(Total 200 points)

Attendance/Participation 11
Weekly Posts (13) 39
Exam 1 30
Exam 2 40
Exam 3 (FINAL) 40
5-7 page Essay 40

This syllabus is subject to change.

** Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.

For additional information, please see Course policies.

Related Sites

  • Gothic Materials for Study: An excellent site designed for the introductory undergraduate class on Gothic literature by graduate students at the University of Virginia. It features important excerpts from primary and secondary sources.

  • The Literary Gothic: By Jack G. Voller, Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University; regularly updated, this comprehensive literary site features sections on Authors, Titles, the Gothic Community, General Resources, LitGothic. Each of our authors is noted with a list of relevant internet sites to examine.

  • The Gothic Literature Page - The English Gothic Novel from 1764-1820: By Franz J. Potter, Ph. D student at the University of East Anglia; regularly updated, this site features a general introduction to the Gothic novel, Gothic Resources, Gothic Bibliography and a section devoted to Ann Radcliffe. Note that the background on this site makes it difficult to read, and some of the information is greatly simplified.

  • The Sickly Taper: By Fred Frank, Professor Emeritus at Allegheny College and well-published Gothic scholar; regularly updated, this site features an excellent and very current bibliography -- a must check for your research papers.

  • Gothic Literature - What the Romantics Read: By Douglas Thomson, Associate Professor at Georgia Southern College; this site lists what Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats were known to have read from the Gothic bibliography, and aims to stimulate discussion of the relationship between gothic and romanticism.

  • Gothic Architecture: This site features photos of famous gothic architecture, including Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Castle.