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Course content

Introduction

Contemporary culture is characterised by nothing if not a reawakened interest in the Gothic, be that in the form of the current vogue for horror film, in the heightened preoccupation with terror and monstrosity in the media, the extraordinary success of writers such as Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer, or in manifestations of an alternative Gothic impulse in fashion, music and lifestyle.

As the countless adaptations and retellings of texts such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818; 1831) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) in our own day attest, the Gothic, though once relegated to a dark corner of literary history, has assumed a position of considerable cultural prominence.

The MLitt in The Gothic Imagination at the University of Stirling provides students with the unique opportunity to steep themselves in the scholarly appreciation of this mode, providing a rigorous and intensive historical survey of its literary origins and developments, and charting its dispersal across a broad range of media and national contexts. In so doing, the course equips its graduates with the necessary theoretical vocabulary to address, and critically reflect upon, the Gothic as a complex and multi-faceted cultural phenomenon, while also preparing them for further postgraduate research in the rich and vibrant field of Gothic Studies. In addition to these subject-specific objectives, the MLitt in The Gothic Imagination also provides its graduates with several invaluable transferable skills, including critical thinking, theoretical conceptualisation, historical periodization and independent research.

Key information

- Degree type: MLitt, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate

- Study methods: Part-time, Full-time

- Duration: Full-time; MLitt-12 months, Part-time: MLitt-27 months,

- Start date: September

- Course Director: Dr Timothy Jones

Course objectives

- The MLitt in the Gothic Imagination consists of four core modules, two option modules, and a dissertation. Across these components, the course aims to provide students with a rigorous grounding in the work and thematic preoccupations of the most influential Gothic writers, both historical and contemporary. Supplemented by relevant historical and theoretical material throughout, the course aims to provide as rich and varied an exposure to the academic study of the Gothic as possible.

- The first two core modules seek to provide a searching historical overview of the genesis and development of the Gothic aesthetic, taking students systematically from the circulation of the term ‘Gothic’ in the political and aesthetic discourses of the late seventeeth and eighteenth centuries, through the late eighteenth-century writings of Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis and Charlotte Dacre, and into the nineteenth-century fictions of writers such as Charles Maturin, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, the Brontës, Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde.

- The second and third core modules, on Gothic in modern, modernist and postmodern writing, include texts by authors such as Gaston Leroux, Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Djuna Barnes; Mervyn Peake, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison and Patrick McGrath.

- Option modules vary from year to year, depending on student interest and demand. Recent option topics have included the Gothic on the Romantic Stage; Nineteenth-century American Gothic; Transmutations of the Vampire; The Gothic in Children’s Literature; Monstrosity; The Female Gothic; Queer Gothic; and Gothic in/and Modern Horror Cinema.

- At the dissertation stage, students are encouraged to undertake independent, supervised research on any particular interest within Gothic studies that they might wish to pursue. Subject to the agreement of the course director, a creative writing dissertation may be undertaken at this stage.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

- IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill

- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C

- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C

- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component

- IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx .

Delivery and assessment

Two hours of seminars per module per week, plus individual consultations and supervisions with members of staff. Assessment is by means of a 4,000-word essay for each core module, and a variety of skills-based assessments (such as presentations; portfolios; blog-entries) for optional modules. All students complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice once optional and core modules have been completed.

Employability

With course-work assessed solely by means of independently devised, researched and executed essays, the MLitt in The Gothic Imagination equips students with a number of the skills and abilities that are prized and actively sought after by employers across the private and public sectors. These include the ability to process and reflect critically upon cultural forms; the ability to organise, present and express ideas clearly and logically; the ability to understand complex theoretical ideas; and the ability to undertake extended independent research.

Previous graduates of the course have gone on to pursue successful careers in such fields as teaching, publishing, research, academia, advertising, journalism and the film industry.

The 15,000-word dissertation that is submitted towards the end of the course allows students to devise, develop, support and defend their own academic ideas across an extended piece of written work; addition to the skills of independence, organisation and expression fostered by this exercise, the dissertation also provides an excellent point of entry into more advanced forms of postgraduate research, including the Doctoral degree.


Visit the MLitt in The Gothic Imagination page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

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