Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitEnglish
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Patrick Spedding


The unit is designed to introduce students to the development of the Dark or Satanic Hero and the Femme Fatal in a range of major English texts selected to illustrate the tremendous impact and popularity of these powerful figures in the Romantic Period. Writers such as Marlow, Milton, Lewis and Byron created powerful and seductive heroes who advocate radical individualism, self-sufficiency and ambition, but who leave their associates isolated, gloomy and dissatisfied by their revolt against God, government and society. Special attention will be given to the gendered representation of evil and the relationship between the Satanic Heroes in the nineteenth century and the survival and transformation of this figure in the vampires, vamps and villains of contemporary culture.


Students successfully completing this subject will be able to:

  1. identify key characteristics of the Dark or Satanic Hero and the Femme Fatal;
  2. identify the historical development, and with a range of different historical manifestations, of these figures;
  3. identify the psychological, social and cultural roots of these figures and the impact they have had;
  4. identify the key critical debates concerning the Dark Hero and Femme Fatal;
  5. evaluate the relevance of these debates to the course-texts as well as to modern manifestations of these figures
  6. argue their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form;
  7. communicate ideas and position effectively in discussion.


Written work: 50%
Test (1 hour): 40%
Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A first-year sequence in Literary Studies, English or Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies