The Fantastic in 19th and 20th Century Literature (SML3035)

StaffDr Muireann Maguire - Convenor
Professor Chloe Paver - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the formal features and the main themes of the ‘fantastic’ as a literary genre or ‘mode’, and to provide you with the appropriate critical background to read a selection of fantastic texts from different periods and literatures.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the definition of the fantastic as a literary genre or mode
  • 2. Show detailed knowledge of the set texts in the context of the tradition of European fantastic literature

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. After initial input from the lecturer, apply and evaluate critical approaches to the material
  • 4. Argue at length and in detail about an aspect of the topic, supporting appropriately the argument with evidence from the texts and with opinions from secondary literature
  • 5. Use a range of critical terminology competently and appropriately, applying it to independently researched material as well as to material introduced by the lecturer
  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to interpret, and compare the set texts effectively

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Following initial guidance from the lecturer, show ability to work with a measure of autonomy to research, plan and complete a written essay to a prescribed length and deadline
  • 8. Present a cogent and sustained argument in writing, in English, on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Eleven lectures introducing a range of core texts in their historical context and in the context of subsequent criticism
  • Five seminars, providing students with the opportunity to perform close narrative analysis and experiment with new critical apparatus
  • Introduction to the theoretical arguments of Tzvetan Todorov and Sigmund Freud
  • Close reading of 6-8 primary texts by diverse European and American authors, including Gogol, Kafka, Hoffmann, Gautier, Maupassant, and Poe
  • Overview of key themes in the evolution of the modern fantastic, including doubles, vampires, haunting, feminine fantastic; the politics of the fantastic

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching10Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching5Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Conclusion
Guided independent study114Reading texts and criticism
Guided independent study20Formative assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan and bibliography750 words1-8Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003000 words1-8Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Essay1-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Any selection of set primary texts, e.g.

  • Gogol’s The Nose
  • Hoffmann’s The Sandman
  • Poe’s William Wilson
  • Kafka’s Metamorphosis
  • Mérimée, La Vénus d’Ille  
  • Gautier, La Morte amoureuse

Secondary Reading (selected)

  • Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny (London: Penguin, 2003)
  • Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic. A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Ithaca-New York: Cornell University Press, 1975)

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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