HENKE2403U English - Free topic C: Fantasy and the Gothic novel

Volume 2024/2025



Lene Østermark-Johansen: From The Castle of Otranto to Dracula: The Gothic novel from 1764 to 1896

For many people, the protagonists of the classical Gothic novels have become myths to which we all refer: a Frankenstein, a Dracula, a Dr Jekyll, but relatively few people have actually read the series of classical Gothic novels which, in the period between 1764 to 1896, laid the ground for the Gothic genre which is still thriving. This course aims to move from myth to text by inviting you to follow the development of the genre from its first manifestation in the eighteenth century to its peak at the fin de siècle. We will look at geographies of the Gothic – from the Oriental and Mediterranean settings of the eighteenth century to the ways in which the uncanny moves closer to home in the nineteenth century: London, the North of England. We’ll study Gothic villains, architectural structures, the concern with bloodlines and the supernatural, narrative techniques and the gradual entry of modern technologies into the Gothic genre.


Maria Damkjær: Fantasy Writing

In the second half of the course, we delve into the realm of fantasy narrative. We will study world-builders like Ursula K. Le Guin and George R. R. Martin and examine the intricacies of magic systems and the narrative choices of secondary worlds. This will be a unit that applies theories of storytelling, narrative theory, genre theory, and world-building to the texts. In this part of the course, one of the two essays comes with the option of submitting a piece of creative writing. This allows you to experiment with narrative techniques explored throughout the course.

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)

William Beckford, Vathek: An Arabian Tale (1786)

Matthew Lewis, The Monk (1796)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818)

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

Bram Stoker, Dracula (1896)




Ursual Le Guin, selected tales from Earthsea (1990)

Nghi Vo, Empress of Salt and Fortune (2020)

Ann Leckie, The Raven Tower (2019)

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996)

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353.5
  • Total
  • 409.5
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline January 6th 2025
Type of assessment details
Maria: 50 % of the portfolio, in the form of 2 essays of 5-6 standard pages each, one to be submitted in December, and one to be submitted with the final portfolio in January.
Lene: 50 % of the portfolio, in the form of mandatory participation in a 10-minute group presentation during the semester (3-6 slides), and a 5-minute individual presentation at a student conference in October (2-4 slides). Each slide will count for 1,5 ns. Slides from both the presentations to be submitted with the final portfolio in January.
Exam registration requirements

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Criteria for exam assesment