ENG378H1S - L0201

Topics in Pre-1800 British Literature: Romantic Period Gothic Fiction and Revolution


Tuesday 10 am - 12 pm

Thursday 10 am - 11 am


Dr. M. Johnstone

E-mail: m.johnstone@utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course

This course will focus on the popularity and controversy generated by Gothic fiction in Britain during the years and immediate aftermath of the French Revolution. With respect especially to the significant ideological tensions in Britain related to the Revolution throughout the 1790s and the early 1800s, we’ll consider how Gothic fiction represents a vital response to and reflection of a time of profound change, uncertainty, and also even hope. What, for instance, do the remote, ruined abbeys and dark, confining dungeons and kidnapped maidens and supernatural manifestations of Gothic fiction tell us about the emotional, psychological, and social climate of revolution? How did Gothic fiction also challenge and reshape the genre and aesthetic norms of the novel in particular? Starting with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1754), we’ll focus on Gothic works from authors such as Clara Reeve, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory Lewis, William Godwin, and others.

Required Reading(s)


First Three Authors/Texts


Method of Instruction


Method of Evaluation