19th-Century British Gothic
We often imagine nineteenth-century Britain to be morally and sexually repressed. Indeed, the word “Victorian” has become virtually synonymous with prudishness. Yet at the same time, this period witnessed what amounts to an obsession with sex, criminality, madness, and exoticism. Throughout the period, gothic literature operated to bring the repressed to light. In this class we will read eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic novels, dramas, and poetry by Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, Joanna Baille, Jane Austen, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Bram Stoker, and others. Along the way, we will deepen our understanding of historical context, genre, and, of course, those subjects that were equally repressed and stressed.