ATS3487 - The shadow of reason: Irrational literature in the eighteenth century - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Literary Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Patrick Spedding


Dr Patrick Spedding

Not offered in 2019


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.

As this is a third-year level unit, it is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed one second-year level unit in Literary studies.




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 scepticism, rationality and restraint) also gave rise to gothic, horror and supernatural literature, a literature of unrestrained emotionalism, morbid and fantastic speculation, and irrational themes.


It is intended that students successfully completing the unit will be able to:

  1. Read and interpret eighteenth-century English verse and prose with ease and pleasure.
  2. Locate and recognise, contextualise and analyse, critique and formulate hypotheses about, a range of eighteenth-century texts.
  3. Locate, reflect on and synthesize information relevant to the interpretation of eighteenth-century English texts and engage in creative and original thinking regarding those texts.
  4. Articulate their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form, organising and synthesising their ideas into clear, coherent, logical and persuasive arguments.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

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