Course Description
This course will explore the major themes and development of Gothic literature in English, including its historical origins, its various archetypes, its presentation of social issues, its aesthetic strengths and weaknesses, and its position in the canon. We will trace the development of the Gothic from the nineteenth century to the present, focusing on the ways writers reinvent the genre.

Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (Avon)
Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (St. Martin's)
Judith Hawkes, Julian's House (NAL)
*Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas (Dover)
Bram Stoker, Dracula (Penguin)
George Wells, ed. 26 Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (Dover - 6-book boxed set)
    (stories by Poe, *Le Fanu, R. L. Stevenson, *H. G. Wells, *Henry James, and *others)
*These texts are optional.
If texts are unavailable at the campus bookstore, try or

Web Resources
The course webpage ( is under construction. It will contain an updated syllabus, course handouts as they are assigned, and, if applicable, extra-credit-related assignments, exam tips and topics, and links, filmographies, bibliographies, etc. Several course texts are in the public domain and available for reading or downloading on the web. Check the links on the online syllabus.


Attendance & Participation
In this interactive lecture course, exams will be based on ideas and terms introduced in readings and lectures. Feel free to speak up in class, ask questions, participate in demonstrations, and introduce relevant topics. While you will not be graded on your attendance and participation, students who participate actively and consistently may receive grade bonuses.

You should aim to miss no more than two classes. Every semester, several students fail because they don't attend class. Don't add your name to this list! After an absence, find out what you missed, including assignments or handouts, from a classmate rather than from me. This helps both of you: your classmate learns from teaching you, and you find out what you missed. Do not ask me "Did we do anything important in the class I missed?"

Be punctual. Students whose tardiness disrupts class will be penalized on their final score for the course. If you come in late, seat yourself quietly and unobtrusively and later contact another student to find out what you missed.

If severe weather should threaten to cancel class, call my voicemail (385-8192) for an update.

There will be three midterms and a final exam. The first midterm is worth 10% of your grade and the remaining exams are worth 30% each. There are no makeups for exams. If you miss an exam, you will be assigned a paper due within one week of the exam and, at my discretion, you may be assessed a penalty.

Exams will be offered in two formats; you will always have your choice of formats, even until the date of the exam itself. Multiple choice/short-answer exams require students to have mastered important concepts, terms, and analytical techniques; they feature a combination of multiple choice and short-answer questions. Essay/short answer exams feature a choice of identification questions covering key terms, plus an essay requiring writers to apply key concepts to a text.

Students who attend regularly, take clear, well-organized notes, and complete the readings thoughtfully and on-time are likely to succeed in the course. I do everything I can do to help students succeed in this course, including spending class time discussing exam-taking techniques, but I can only help students who work to capacity.

Communicating with Dr. Jadwin
Drop by during office hours to discuss course business, introduce yourself, or share ideas about the course - no appointment is necessary during these times. Extra copies of in-class handouts will be available on my office door and will be posted on the webpage as they are distributed.

If you are concerned about your performance in the course, consult with me in person, call (385-8192), or leave an e-mail message ( It is always a good idea to tell me in advance or as soon as possible if an emergency is likely to affect your performance in the class.

If you have a diagnosed learning disability, please meet with me as soon as possible so that we can work with the Office of Student Development to make appropriate arrangements.

Writing Assignments
Students may choose to substitute formal analytical essays for midterms 2 and 3. Essays (4-6 double-spaced pages) are due at the beginning of each exam period and should focus on the texts currently under consideration. See the Paper Guidelines for evaluating criteria.

Complete assigned readings before coming to class. Bring your book to class. Asterisked readings (*) will be handed out in class.
This schedule is subject to change. Recommended films are available at local video stores and, in some cases, Lavery Library.


1/16 Introduction. Review syllabus. Historical basis of Gothic archetypes; rise of modern reader.
1/18 *Charles Perrault, "Bluebeard" (1697) as foundation of Gothic archetype. British precursors (Walpole, Radcliffe, Mary Shelley); romanticism as response to Enlightenment realism/foundationalism.

1/25 Lecture on historical background of Edgar Allan Poe; Poe's life and literary significance. Poe, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."
1/27 Lecture on rise of medicine. Poe, "The Masque of the Red Death" (annotated) and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Recommended film: Roger Corman, dir., Fall of the House of Usher (1960; Vincent Price).


2/1 Lecture on Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and "Bluebeard." *Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Speckled Band." Recommended film: Paul Arnott, dir., The Speckled Band (1984; Jeremy Brett). 
2/3 Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (chs. 1-4). Recommended film: Charles Jarrott, dir., The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1976; Jack Palance)


2/8 Lecture on rise of psychology as "science." Brief introduction to Freud, concepts of splitting and projection. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (chs,. 5-10)
2/10 First midterm, covering texts, ideas and terms from Weeks 1-4 (10% of your final grade).


2/15 Review midterm if necessary. Bram Stoker, Dracula, chs. 1-4. Recommended film: Tod Browning, dir., Dracula (1931; Bela Lugosi).  Read about Bram Stoker and check out some Dracula links. 
Read about Vlad Tepes, aka "The Impaler," on whom Dracula was based. 
Another page about the history of Vlad the Impaler. 
Some "vampire management" techniques.
2/17 Lecture on historical context of Dracula: imperialism, slavery, rise of feminism, industrial revolution. Dracula, chs. 5-10


2/22 Dracula, chs. 11-16
2/24 Dracula, chs. 17-22


2/29 Dracula, chs. 23-end
3/2 Second midterm, covering texts, ideas, and terms from Weeks 5-7 (30% of your final grade).


3/7 Review midterm if necessary. Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca, chs. 1-7. Recommended film: Alfred Hitchcock, dir., Rebecca (1941; Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine)
3/9 Lecture on Freud's *Oedipal paradigm and the family romance; relation to gothic paradigms. Rebecca, chs. 8-15.


3/12 Rebecca, chs. 16-21
3/23 Rebecca, chs. 22-27


3/28 Lecture on supernaturalism; spiritualism; brief history of the Anglo-American "ghost story." Judith Hawkes, Julian's House, chs. 1-10. *Optional: In Great Ghost Stories, read Stoker, Jacobs, M. R. James.  Notes on first lecture on Julian's House.
3/30 Julian's House, chs. 11-20.  Read the complete lyrics and listen to an audio recording of the hymn "Lead, Kindly Light."


4/4 Class canceled for college-wide programming break.
4/6 Julian's House, chs. 21-33.


4/11 Julian's House, chs. 34-43.
4/13 Third midterm, covering texts, ideas, and terms from Weeks 8-12 (30% of your final grade).


4/18 Review midterm if necessary. Lecture on detective fiction and gothic. Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs, chs. 1-19. Recommended film: Jonathan Demme, dir., The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Jodie Foster)
4/20 Class canceled for Easter break.


4/25 Silence of the Lambs, chs. 20-39:  formal and informal education.   Notes.
4/27 Silence of the Lambs, chs. 40-61.Conclusions; course evaluations.
Final exam (30% of your final grade), time and date to be announced by Registrar. ENGLISH 239D The Development of the Modern Gothic


©Lisa Jadwin, 1997-2008. All rights reserved.
Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2008.