Languages for All
Short Courses
Your basket
Your account

Victorian Gothic

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Beneath its surface of bourgeois propriety, the psyche of Victorian Britain was in thrall to forbidden dreams and haunted by gruesome nightmares. Come and explore this dark fictional heritage with works by Charlotte Brontë, Wilkie Collins, Bram Stoker, Sheridan Le Fanu and many more!

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No specialist knowledge is required. However, students will be expected to do a large amount of reading from week to week.

Content of Course

1.  Victoria’s Secrets. Introduction to main themes. Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

2. The Ghost in the Attic. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (I).

3. Escape to the Inferno. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (II).

4. The Woman in the Mist. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (I).

5. The Edge of Madness. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (II).

6. To Death and Beyond. In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu.

7. A Pagan Vision. Hauntings by Vernon Lee.

8. The Art of Darkness. The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner.

9. Under a Black Sun. The White People & Other Stories by Arthur Machen.

10. Flesh of the Demon. The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker.

Teaching method(s)

Lecture based with class discussion.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Explain how Victorian fantasy challenged the taboos of its era;

  • Describe the ways in which fantasy writers subvert social norms;

  • Identify cultural trends across the English-speaking world;

  • Relate Victorian fantasy to contemporary fears and taboos.


Core Readings

  • Brontë, Charlotte (2006) Jane Eyre, Penguin Classics, London

  • Collins, Wilkie (2003) The Woman in White, Penguin Classics, London

  • Falkner, John Meade (2017) The Lost Stradivarius, Create Space, London

  • Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan (2007) In a Glass Darkly (Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural) Wordsworth Editions, London

  • Lee, Vernon (2017) Hauntings, Create Space, London

  • Machen, Arthur (2012) The White People and Other Weird Stories, Penguin Classics, London

  • Stoker, Bram (2015) The Lair of the White Worm, Collin Classics, London

Class Handouts

Discussion questions for each session. Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.