The Popular Gothic Novel

By Prof. A. Divya   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 207
Contents of the Course

• The course discusses the defining traits of the popular gothic novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century English fiction.
• The course traces the structures and implications of the various plots of the popular gothic novel that caught the imagination of the reading public in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain.
• The course introduces the students to a wide range of eighteenth and nineteenth- century novelists who were practitioners of the gothic genre such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Mathew Lewis, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Charlotte Brontë.

Objectives of the course

• The course aims to introduce students of literature to the distinctive features of the gothic novel, an immensely popular literary sub-genre from the late eighteenth and nineteenth century.
• The course deconstructs the narrative ingredients of this subgenre such as the supernatural (assumed and real), madness, and other insidious human behaviour in the context of the social, cultural and historical upheavals that were shaking up the social order of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
• The course will also encourage students to explore the different thematic configurations of the gothic such as the “female gothic” and “the imperial gothic” to understand the cultural and historical anxieties reflected and refracted in such narrative consciousness.
• The course will also expose students to the complications in the gender dynamics embedded within the gothic narrative, and trace the literary and historical conditions that led to the construction of complex characters in this subgenre.

UG and PG students of English Literature.Researchers in Gothic Studies.Faculty of Literature seeking specializing in Gothic Studies.
INDUSTRIES  SUPPORT     : British Library, American Embassy
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 26 Jul 2021
End Date : 15 Oct 2021
Exam Date : 24 Oct 2021
Enrollment Ends : 02 Aug 2021
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction to the Gothic: Gothic Motifs

Week 2: Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

The ‘Explained Supernatural’, Gothic Sublime, and Aristocratic Villainy

Week 3: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Female Gothic: Feminine Anxieties, Scientific Monsters, and Haunted Landscapes

Week 4: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Mocking the Popoular Gothic

Week 5: Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Byronic hero and ghostly women: Realism, Fantasy, Violence, and Cruelty

Week 6: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Gothic Symbolism and Rebellion

Week 7: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Grotesque Gothic: Spectral City, Allegory, and Morality

Week 8: Bram Stoker, Dracula

Vampires, Moral Degeneration, Late-Victorian Anxieties

Week 9: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone

Imperial Gothic: Mysticism, Irrationality, Otherness and Empire

Week 10: Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Gothic Crime: The Anxieties of the Past and the Future

Week 11: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Gothic terror: Dark Ambition, Aesthetics and Degeneracy

Week 12: Accommodating the Gothic in Domestic Realism

Books and references

  • Lisa Rodensky, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the Victorian Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Hogle, Jerrold E., eds. The Cambridge Companion To Gothic Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, New York, 2002.
  • Smith, Andrew and Diana Wallace. "The Female Gothic: Then and Now." Gothic Studies 6.1 (2004): 1-7
  • Heiland, Donna. Gothic & Gender: An Introduction. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2004.
  • Davison, Carol Margaret. "Haunted House/Haunted Heroine: Female Gothic Closets in The Yellow Wallpaper." Women’s Studies 33 (2004): 47-75.
  • Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Gothic. London; New York: Routledge, 2007.
  • Carol Margaret Davison. History of the Gothic: Gothic Literature 1764-1824. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009.
  • Rachel Ablow, The Feeling of Reading: affective experience and Victorian literature. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010.
  • Mary, Hammond, ‘Readers and Readerships’ in Joanna Shattock (ed.),
  • The Cambridge Guide to English Literature 1830-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Instructor bio

Prof. A. Divya

IIT Madras
Divya A is an Assistant Professor in English Literature in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India. Divyas research interests primarily revolve around explorations in the fields of gender, domesticity, spatiality, urbanism, and the interplay between the visual and the literary arts. After obtaining her Master of Studies degree in Early Modern English Literature from the University of Oxford, Divya completed her PhD in Nineteenth- Century English Fiction at Nanyang Technological University. She has published on Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, and the Pre-Raphaelites. Her current research project traces and maps the British colonial visual culture of Nineteenth-Century India.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 October 2021 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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