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
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Patrick Spedding


Previously coded ENH3130


The unit is designed to introduce students to a range of eighteenth-century English texts that employ and explore irrationality, emotionalism and the supernatural. The unit considers why and how an era that championed Enlightenment values (such as skepticism, rationality and restraint) also gave rise to gothic, horror and supernatural literature, a literature of unrestrained emotionalism, morbid and fantastic speculation, and irrational themes. Special attention will be given to aspects of the emerging print culture that made the rise of the irrational possible in the Age of Reason and which enabled the cultural conflicts of the Enlightenment to be articulated via a flood of prose and verse pamphlets to an increasingly-engaged public.


Students successfully completing this subject will be able to identify

  1. key characteristics of a variety of 'irrational' literary genres in verse and prose
  2. the historical development, and the range of historical manifestations, of these genres
  3. the literary, social and cultural roots, and the impact, of these genres
  4. key critical debates concerning a range of key 'irrational' literary texts
  5. the relevance of these debates to modern works of fantasy and horror

Students successfully completing this subject will also be able to:

  1. argue their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form
  2. communicate fruitfully in discussion
  3. demonstrate skill in identifying and using a range of original texts, scholarly editions and digital archives
  4. demonstrate skill in using the Library's exceptionally strong resources in this area of study, including digital archives (esp. LION, ECCO and the Burney Newspaper Collection).


Written work(4050 words): 90%
Tutorial participation(450 words): 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One x 1-hour lecture per week
One x 1-hour seminar 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 and 12 points of second-year units in these areas