‘Gothic’ in Fiction: From Frankenstein to Dracula and beyond

This course will be delivered online.

This course will explore three of the most influential and enduring literary works of Gothic literature: all three novels created and expanded a genre that featured the medieval, the supernatural, the macabre, or simply, the downright horrifying.
The Castle of Otranto (1764) is credited with being the first of its kind, 'a Gothic story' as the author himself called it. First published by Walpole at his 'villa' at Strawberry Hill, the novel, with its mix of medievalism and supernatural horror, achieved instant popularity and inspired many authors to seek to replicate its success. Rejecting the novelistic norms of the eighteenth-century, Otranto instead emphasised fantasy, terror, and even romance.
In her preface to Frankenstein (1818) Shelley explained that her story: 'would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken a thrilling horror [ ]'. She tells of Dr Victor Frankenstein's obsession to acquire god-like powers to 'penetrate the secrets of nature' and create a new living being, a 'creature' both 'hideous' and 'gigantic'. The novel's critique of the misuse of science surely has a chilling resonance for twenty-first century readers.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) specifically conceived as a 'horror novel', is loosely based on Romanian vampire mythology. Set in the 1890s, it tells of an 'undead' count whose eternal life depends on the blood of the living. Having encountered a young lawyer, Jonathan Harker, Dracula falls in love with a photograph of the latter's wife, and sets out for England to find - and possess her. Stoker's book was an immediate success, launching a specific 'vampire' genre that has continued ever since in countless books and films.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible for this course you must be 19 or over on the start date of the course.

Additional Information

Some of our courses are now delivered through remote learning, including video conferencing (using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype) and email contact with your tutor.

If your course is indicated as an ONLINE COURSE, you will need either a PC (with a camera and microphone), laptop, tablet, smartphone and access to the internet to be able to join the lessons. Lessons will run at the published time – so be ready and set up to join in.

We hope you will enjoy this new approach to learning – many of our learners have commented on how they are enjoying the classes and have improved their IT and digital skills in the process.

Please don't worry if some of this is new to you - you are not alone! See here for guidance on how to use our simple software. If you are experiencing any problems with connection or installing software for your online class please contact our eLearning support team via the Student Intranet Portal: We are here to help you.