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Victorian Gothic

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 15th January 2020 (Code LI137-203) Add to Basket Wednesdays from
15th January 2020 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
Holyrood campus • Tutor: David M. Wingrove AB (Magna) MA BFI Cert
£133.00 Concessions and discounts

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

Week 1 – Victoria’s Secrets

Introduction to main themes.

Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Week 2 – The Ghost in the Attic

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (I)


Week 3 – Escape to the Inferno

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (II)


Week 4 – The Woman in the Mist

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (I)


Week 5 – The Edge of Madness

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (II)


Week 6 – To Death and Beyond

In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu


Week 7 – A Pagan Vision

Hauntings by Vernon Lee


Week 8 – The Art of Darkness

The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner


Week 9 – Under a Black Sun

The White People & Other Stories by Arthur Machen


Week 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 (Week 1)


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.