This seminar will examine a wide range of literature that in one way or another employs or engages the conventions of the Gothic: haunted castles, mysterious monks, tyrannical patriarchs, abandoned convents, ruins, bloody daggers, ghosts, bandits, dungeons, imprisonment, incest, heresy, and things that go bump in the night. We will examine the evolution of this genre of literature as well as the ways in which these texts are "political" (in the broadest sense of the term): national politics, empire, gender politics, sexual politics and so on. Works we will read are likely to include: Horace Walpole's *The Castle of Otranto*, Clara Reeve's *The Old English Baron*, Charlotte Smith's *The Old Manor House*, William Godwin's *Caleb Williams*, Matthew Lewis's *The Monk*, Ann Radcliffe's *The Italian*, Jane Austen's *Northanger Abbey*, Mary Shelley's *Frankenstein*, and a few short stories and fragments. Please note that this reading is fun, but lengthy (average of 200+ pages per week). Requirements include: regular attendance, active participation, one short paper, one research paper, and one in-class presentation.