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Unit information: The Uncanny in 2015/16

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Unit name The Uncanny
Unit code ENGL29027
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Punter
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will introduce students to the concept of the uncanny and its relation to literary texts. A wide variety of texts will be read, ranging from Hamlet to Lewis Carroll, from Coleridge to Dickens, from Poe to Virginia Woolf. There will also be opportunities to look at some visual material and videos, as well as examining major theories of the uncanny from Freud onwards.


To develop an understanding of the concept of the uncanny, and to reflect, through clear textual study, on the centrality of the uncanny to the meaning of literature.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

  1. developed knowledge and understanding of a range of literature considered in relation to the concept of the uncanny;
  2. knowledge of some of the major theories of the uncanny from Freud onwards;
  3. demonstrated the ability to analyse and evaluate differing critical accounts of the primary texts;
  4. demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in order to present a cogent argument;
  5. strengthened their skills in argumentation and academic writing.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

  • 1 essay of 2000 words (40%)
  • 1 essay of 3000 words (60%)

Both summative essays map onto ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Edgar Allan Poe, Selected Short Stories
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
  • Elizabeth Bowen, The House in Paris
  • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando