Gothic Literature: Then and Now

Haunted castles, hidden passages, dastardly villains – just some of the Gothic elements that thrilled 18th century readers of Gothic novels. And when Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto in 1764 reading novels became a popular passion. Eventually sated by too much sensation, readers turned aside. But the Gothic style did not die, so much as mutate. Join us for an enjoyable romp discovering the best and the most absurd, as well as the traces of Gothic throughout Victorian literature and on to today.


  • This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom.
  • This course requires students to have an email, a reliable internet connection, a microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
  • A Sicilian Romance, Ann Radcliffe
  • Melmoth the Wanderer, Charles Matuin
  • The Old English Baron, Clara Reeve
  • The Monk, Matthew Lewis


  • Antecedents
  • Gothic elements
  • Romantic: Horace Walpole, Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliff, French roman noir, German Schauerroman, Russian Gothic, Matthew Lewis, The beginning of the end
  • Victorian: Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Gaskell, Bronte, Alcott, Penny Dreadfuls, Fin De Siecle
  • Influenced: Architecture, design, music, 20th Century: British, American, Australian Gothic, 21st Century

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Outline the evolution of the Gothic literary genre.
  2. Identify the distinguishing characteristics of a Gothic story.
  3. Outline the lives and significance of major Gothic authors
  4. Describe the differences in Gothic literature in various nations, particularly England and Australia.
  5. Discuss the cultural values expressed in Gothic stories.
  6. Seek out some significant Gothic novels to read for pleasure.
  7. Assess the literary quality of various Gothic stories.
  8. Identify Gothic influences in 20th and 21st literature and other art forms.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .