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Gothic Transformations


Admission requirements

A relevant BA degree (preferably in the humanties; and preferably with a literay and/or cultural studies component).
This course is one of the set electives in the Literature and Society track within the MA Literary Studies, but is open to all MA students within the Humanities.


Gothic Transformations concerns the rise and development of the Gothic genre, or is it a mode, or a style? However you define it, the Gothic has its roots in German and British Romanticism, reached its zenith as a popular genre in Britain and the Unites States in the course of the nineteenth century, and branched out into various new forms and subgenres in the course of the twentieth century , especially in the medium of film. The course will focus on the formal and thematic developments of the gothic by studying various classic works in their literary and broader cultural-historical contexts. In the second-half of the course attention will be paid to “gothic” transformations in film, especially celluloid vampires, as it is in the cinema that this most alluring of gothic monsters has found immorality.

Course objectives

The course aims to give students:

  • a thorough understanding of the gothic as a transnational cultural phenomenon.

  • knowledge of the gothic’s development as a form of artistic expression that has its origins in Romantic aesthetics, but flowered also as a form of popular consumer culture directly engaged with the social concerns and anxieties of a large body of readers.

  • an introduction to various critical approaches to the study of popular genre.

  • to further develop the students’ academic research and writing skills by means of two coursework essays.



Mode of instruction

Weekly tutorials
Self-motivated research and study

Course Load

The course load is 10 ECTS = 280 hours of study.

  • ±24 hours of tutorial

  • ±150 hours of studying primary and secondary material in preparation for tutorials

  • ±106 hours for independent research and writing of coursework
    This is an approximation; some students read quickly and write slowly and vice versa.

Assessment method

Students will write two research essays—one for each tutor—of 2500 words each, following the MLA stylesheet. Each essay counts for 50% of the grade. The minimum grade for each essay is 6. Each tutor will provide a list of essay topics from which students can develop their own research questions and thesis statements. Students are expected to use the university library resources to compile a bibliography of relevant secondary sources on their topic and will need to show that they can properly integrate this material into their essays. Each tutor will give instructions on how he wants the students to submit their essays for grading; all essays need to be submitted to Blackboard via Turnitin for a plagiarism check and archiving. Any essay found to contain clear signs of plagiarism or intellectual fraud will be forwarded to the board of examiners immediately.
The deadline for submitting course work essays will be determined by each tutor and will be posted on the Blackboard site of the course. There will be one re-sit deadline for all essays on which students can submit papers judged insufficient by the tutors. This will also be the deadline for students who have to catch up on papers they could not submit on the original deadline due to illness or another acceptable reason. Students who fail to produce essays of sufficient quality by the re-sit deadline will not be able to complete the course.


Blackboard will be used as a repository for course documents, assignments, submitted coursework and as a tool of communucation between the tutors and the students. Make sure to sign up and to keep checking the announcements and your email inbox during the semester.

Reading list

Required reading:

  • Several literary, contextual and theoretical texts made available as PDF documents or via links on Blackboard.

  • Daphne Du Maurier, Don’t Look Now and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables. Oxford World’s Classics.

  • James Hogg, Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Ed. Ian Duncan. Oxford World’s Classics.

  • Stephen King, The Dead Zone (Hodder).

  • Michael Newton, ed. The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories. Penguin Classics.

  • Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest. Oxford World’s Classics.

  • Bram Stoker, Dracula. Ed. Roger Luckhurst. Oxford World’s Classics.

Required viewing:

  • Francis Ford Coppola (dir), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (DVD).

  • Terence Fisher (dir), (Horror of) Dracula (DVD).

  • Stanley Kubrick(dir), The Shining (DVD).

  • Roman Polanski (dir), Rosemary’s Baby (DVD).


Students need to register in uSis for classes, exams and final papers.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher: Evert-Jan van Leeuwen

Administrations Office: Van Wijkplaats: e-mail.
Coordinator of Studies: Jurjen Donkers


The required reading for week 1, available in the course documents folder on Blackboard:

  • From Aikin and Aikin “On the Pleasures of Terror,” Hurd, excerpts from Letters on Chivalry and Romance and Radcliffe, “On the Supernatural in Poetry” available as a PDF document on Blackboard.

  • Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764); Bürger, “Lenore” (1774; English translation 1796); Goethe, “The Erl-King” (translated by Matthew Lewis); all available as PDF documents in Blackboard.