ANG6150 Victorian Literature
Winter 2007

Victorian Gothic: Ghosts, Sex, and the Fin de Siècle

This course will consider eight Victorian novels and their representations of sexuality in an age when the very definitions of heterosexuality and homosexuality were being drawn. By reading these novels from a queer theory perspective (with the help of fifteen key articles by influential queer theorists), students will have the opportunity to look at these classic Victorian works in an unconventional way. Each novel will also be studied within the generic grouping of ‘Gothic’ —  a term that is most conspicuously associated with ‘queer’ — and its publication and reception history to help locate it within the development of a Victorian public discourse about sex. Two film versions of the novels, along with one contemporary rewriting of perhaps the queerest Victorian novel, will further allow students to challenge their readings of the novels under consideration.

Works Studied:

  • Queer Theory: Readers in Cultural Criticism. Ed. Ian Morland and Annabelle Wilcox. Longman, 2005.
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1838).
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847).
  • Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862).
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
  • L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891).
  • Will Self, Dorian (2002).
  • G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895).
  • Twist. Dir. Jacob Tierney. 2003.
  • Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Dir. Roy Ward Baker. 1971.


  • In-class presentation / first paper (2400-3000 words / 8-10 pages): 40% [sent to the instructor by email 48 hours before class]
  • Final essay (5400-6000 words / 18-20 pages): 60% [due by noon on Monday 23 April 2007]
    • [Please note that the final essay has to be on a different novel(s) than the one discussed in the first paper.]

This content has been updated on January 4, 2020 at 22 h 18 min.