The Unsettled Imagination: exploring Gothic literature

Course Dates: 12/07/21 - 09/08/21
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Eerie atmospherics; fear; curses; nightmares; confused perceptions; a damsel in distress; a brooding, fallen hero; creaking staircases in seemingly deserted, rain-lashed mansions. Gothic fiction is seen as full of stereotypes. It is actually complex, brilliant, and related to contemporary real-world shenanigans. This course considers classic 18th-19th Century Gothic writing.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00

Course Code: HLT216

Mon, eve, 12 Jul - 09 Aug '21

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Through the study of classic examples of Gothic literature, we will consider the main themes, issues, settings, and characterisation that contribute to the genre. The texts will be:

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Gothic Poetry: “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

As the course progresses, we will look at Gothic origins, its development, and later interpretations of - and reactions to - the genre.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

What makes a work of fiction Gothic?
Why did this genre emerge?
What makes a character Gothic?
Types of Gothic settings
How does the genre develop?
The different techniques writers use in Gothic literature, such as letters, dream or dreamlike sequences, and other kinds of frame narrative.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Discern and describe the main characteristics of Gothic literature.
Understand the contexts in which Gothic fiction was written.
Describe how different writers approached the genre.
Detect Gothic parody and other reactions to the genre.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course considers 18th and 19th Century English writing, but it is not technical and requires no specific knowledge of language or linguistic terms.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

By presentation and demonstration. Also group discussion.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You should have pen and paper ready, but course notes will be provided. All texts we will look at will also be provided in electronic files.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other literary history courses on our website at, culture and writing/literature/literary history.

Steven Breeze

Steven teaches medieval literature, including Old and Middle English, Old Norse literature, and modern interpretations of medieval works and the medieval period for the Culture and Humanities department at City Lit. He has taught at City Lit since 2013, and he also has experience teaching in higher education and in secondary schools. Steven completed a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2018, and has degrees in English and anthropology, a master’s degree in ethnomusicology and a PGCE. He is currently writing a book about performance in Old English poetry, which will be published in 2021 by Boydell and Brewer. In addition to his specialist work in Culture and Humanities, Steven also teaches in the Business and Technology department.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.