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Gothic Imagination (MLitt)

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  • Objectives
    This programme aims to provide you with opportunities to explore the full range of Gothic writing, from its beginning in the 18th century to the present. The programme focuses on work from Ann Radcliffe and Mary Shelley, through Victorian and late 19th-century writers (Dickens, Stevenson, Wilde, Stoker) to the Edwardian heyday of the ghost story, and on to the various modern and post-modern examples of the Gothic in writers such as Iain Banks, Angela Carter and Stephen King. The term ‘Gothic’ is itself highly contested. Accordingly, theories relevant to the Gothic, such as Freud’s uncanny, Todorov on the fantastic and Kristeva on abjection will be examined.
  • Entry requirements
    Entrance Requirements An upper second class or better Single or Combined Honours degree in a relevant subject or subjects from a UK university or an equivalent qualification. Applicants with other qualifications or other appropriate experience may be admitted on the recommendation of the Programme Director.
  • Academic Title
    Gothic Imagination (MLitt)
  • Course description
    Structure and Content

    The teaching year at Stirling is divided into two semesters, which run from mid-September to Christmas, and from mid-February to the end of May. Both full-time and part-time students take a Gothic core module over two semesters. For part-time students this is in Year One.

    The first semester will be devoted to the late 18th- and 19th-century Gothic, the second, to 20th-century Gothic; sessions on theory will be interlaced with specific readings.

    In parallel with the core module, other modules allow you to develop a more specialised knowledge. You will take one of these modules each semester. If you are on the part-time programme you will take the two optional modules in Year Two. The first semester module will be set in advance to enable preparatory reading. The module for the second semester will be decided in consultation. These modules vary depending on teaching staff, but in the past have included the following:
        American Gothic: An examination of the emergence and development of Gothic in 19th-century American fiction with particular attention to the ways in which these texts transform the optimistic narratives of the new American republic.
        Gothic in Contemporary Film: An analysis of the ways in which Gothic tropes have been appropriated and reworked in a selection of contemporary films.
        The Female Gothic: A study of selected contemporary texts as reworkings of the female Gothic tradition of Ann Radcliffe.
        Transmutations of the Vampire: An investigation into the cultural significance of the vampire over the past 50 years. The focus will be on the way vampire narratives reproduce and produce culture and their intricate connections with the anxieties and obsessions of their age.

    Research Methods

    All MLitt postgraduates share a regular Research Methods core module. Part-time students take this in Year Two. This seminar offers insights into the different approaches, problems and solutions to be met with in advanced literary study. It is designed to provide the research skills requisite for the dissertation, and beyond that, for advanced postgraduate study. It is also a forum for you to meet with other students, exchange views and share experiences.


    The most significant piece of work on the programme will be a dissertation of 15,000 words, written during the summer, on a subject of your choosing in consultation with a member of the Department. You may choose to develop work initiated on one of the modules you have studied. Those who do not embark on the dissertation may be awarded a Diploma. The work of the best students completing the programme may be deemed worthy of an MLitt with Distinction.

    Delivery and Assessment

    Methods of assessment for each of the non-core modules will vary but will often consist of a single essay. Teaching will take the form of regular tutorials in small groups. Though all the modules will offer close and careful supervision, participants are expected to take proper responsibility for their own studies. The aim in all cases is to foster student-led learning in expert, stimulating and congenial company.

    Career Opportunities

    Completing a Master’s degree as a prelude to further academic research is an increasingly common pattern of study for young scholars, and is a route encouraged by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Advanced education in the Arts, the practical experience of research and the production of a dissertation are significant transferable skills for many careers in business and the professions.

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