• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Areas of interest English
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

How does one speak the unspeakable? In the nineteenth century, writers and readers often turned to ghosts, monsters, vampires and other supernatural tropes to express and explore cultural anxieties, particularly those that remained in the shadows and at the margins of dominant discourses. In this course we will read a variety of Victorian gothic and supernatural texts in the context of nineteenth century anxieties and discourses about sexual transgression, gender roles, disease, madness, spriritualism, the experience of modernity and the problem of the body. We will read a range of literary forms including novels, novellas, short stories and poetry, and both canonical and non-canonical texts, enabling us to understand the breadth of the Victorian writers' achievement in the literary field, and the way that Victorian literature both participated in and emerged from debates in other cultural discourses such as medicine, psychology, sociology and philosophy.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of the course students will:

  1. Be able to analyse, discuss and write critically about the use of supernatural and gothic tropes and their significance in a range of Victorian texts.
  2. Be familiar with the work of a range of Victorian writers, both canonical and less well-known, and with a range of genres inlcuding the novel, short story and poetry.
  3. Be able to position Victorian literature in relation to a range of contexts including Victorian anxieties about modernity, madness, sexual transgression and disease.
  4. Be able to identify and discuss theoretical discourses concerning class, sexuality, gender and colonialism as these illuminate a range of Victorian texts.
  5. Have developed skills in reading carefully with attention to detail and to the ways in which texts are constructed.

Indicative Assessment

One 2000 word essay (40%) [LO 1, 2, 3,4 and 5]

One 2500 word essay (50%) [LO 1, 2, 3,4 and 5]

Tutorial Participation (10%) [LO 1, 2, 3,4 and 5]


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One lecture (1.5 hours), one tutorial (1 hour) and 7.5 hours of associated reading/study time per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 Units of 1000 level English (ENGL) Courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ENGL2001. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convenor to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed texts may include:

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (novel)
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (novella)
a selection of poetry by Christina Rosetti (available on Wattle)
a selection of short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, Dinah Mulock and Catherine Crowe (available on Wattle)
Mary Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret (novel)
Vernon Lee, Hauntings and Other Tales. (two short stories)
Sheridan LeFanu, 'In a Glass Darkly' and 'Carmilla' (short stories)
John Meade Falkner, The Lost Stradivarius (novella)
Henry James, 'The Turn of the Screw' in The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories (short story)

There will also be a reading brick on Wattle containing critical material.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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