ENGLI300-22B (HAM)

Theory Matters

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts


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: alexandra.cullen@waikato.ac.nz

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: anne.ferrier-watson@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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The Gothic has held readers in thrall since its monstrous birth in the late eighteenth century. This paper considers the complex nature of that grip, beginning with the origins of the Gothic and moving through some of its most compelling nineteenth-century manifestations, including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, and The Turn of the Screw. We will approach these texts through a range of theoretical perspectives, including cultural studies, gender studies, psychoanalysis and narrative theory.

We will consider the following primary texts in relation to the following theoretical approaches and problems:

  • Frankenstein: New Historicism and psychoanalytic approaches
  • Dracula: cultural studies, gender studies and narrative theory
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Uncanny, and more on gender
  • Edgar Allan Poe short stories: more on psychoanalytic approaches
  • The Turn of the Screw: dealing with difficulty and ambiguity

Learning in this paper is cumulative. If you keep up with the reading, attend class regularly, and participate in discussion, you should find that your familiarly with the primary texts and various theoretical perspectives deepens in the course of the trimester. The assessment reflects that cumulative learning.

  • An early short assignment is a close reading exercise. It asks you to think and write about a short focus passage from one of the 'theory' readings.
  • A research essay, submitted in two assessed phases. The questions for the research essay are designed to test depth of knowledge.
  • The research essay resubmission is designed to help you refine your thinking and writing in response to feedback.
  • The final take-home test is designed to test the breadth of your knowledge.
  • A mark for class participation assesses your knowledge of the primary and secondary readings as displayed in discussion, and incentivizes regular attendance.
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Paper Structure

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The paper has three timetabled hours per week:

  • The Tuesday class will often serve as a 'lecture' introduction to a text and a related theory.
  • The Thursday class is two hours long. It comprises a timetabled 'lecture' hour followed by a one-hour workshop. The session will run as a single two-hour forum, building on lectures and readings via class discussion.

Students are expected to read the week's primary and secondary readings before coming to class.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Understand and apply some fundamental theoretical approaches to literary study
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Recognise the characteristics of the Gothic mode, and understand the historic, social and psychic pressures that determine its specific forms
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Close read primary and secondary literary and theoretical materials
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Revise their own work in response to editorial input
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The written assessment for this paper has been designed to foster some core skills for literary study at upper undergraduate level:

  • Reading carefully and evaluating thoughtfully
  • Developing evidence-based opinions
  • Locating, evaluating and citing relevant secondary sources
  • Revising written work in response to feedback
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Short assignment
29 Aug 2022
5:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay draft
14 Oct 2022
5:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Essay final
9 Nov 2022
5:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Take-home test
28 Oct 2022
5:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Class participation
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Required Readings

  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Edgar Allan Poe, Selected Tales (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein [1818 edition] (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, any edition (Prentice Hall) Full text available through the University of Waikato Library online catalogue
  • The course reader is available through Waikato Reading Lists. Print-on-demand hard copy available for purchase from Campus Copy.
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Recommended Readings

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Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (London and NY: Routledge, 2015) Full text available through the Univerity of Waikato Library online catalogue.
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Online Support

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The course is supported through Moodle, accessible via iWaikato. Lecture PowerPoints, tutorial exercises, assignment details, submission upload portals and the paper outline are all available from this site.
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The expected workload for this paper is 12 hours per week (3 hours of class time and 9 hours of self-directed study) throughout the trimester.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: ENGL316, ENGL321

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