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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2009

E f379N • Ghosts of the Gothic: The Brontës and Hardy

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

The genre of gothic literature developed in the late eighteenth century and flourished in the Romantic era. A reaction set in during the Victorian period against the extravagant style and world of mystery featured in gothic literature. Victorian writers in general sought what they considered a more realistic representation of human experience, one that was grounded in the norms of everyday life, rational thought, and contained passion. And yet the darker experiences and mysterious illuminations that dominated gothicism proved too compelling as possibilities even for the presumably anti-gothic art of the Victorians. As a result many Victorian writers, while supposedly subscribing to realism, remained tempted by the portraits of inner human life that gothicism had explored. In effect, Victorian realism was haunted by ghosts of the gothic tradition. The course will study this haunting as it influences and shapes three major novels of the Victorian period: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. We will also read a few shorter samples of the same phenomenon such as Tennyson's poem Maud.

Grading Policy

Your grade will be based on a short paper (3pp) that you will write for each of the three novels. The papers will focus on questions about how to read particular passages in the texts. Each paper will be worth 1/3 of the final grade. In addition: no one who does not attend and contribute regularly can end up with the grade of A in this course. (Regularly=a maximum of three missed classes.)


Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, ed. R.J. Dunn; Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights, ed. R. J. Dunn; Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d'Urbervilles, eds. J. Grindle, and S. Gatrell. OTHER READINGS: shorter works that you will be able to find online


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