Victorian Ghosts

Discover the ghost stories that emerged in Britain in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Tales of spirits and apparitions became so prevalent at this moment in history that many of us associate ghost stories with Victorian Britain to this day. These tales are a wonderful gateway not only into the world of Victorian literature and entertainment, but also into the period’s relationship to global empire/colonialism, technology, capitalism, class mobility, and community. 

About the Course

Come and discover the explosion of ghost stories that emerged in Britain in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Indeed,... See more tales of spirits and apparitions became so prevalent at this moment in history that many of us associate ghost stories with Victorian Britain to this day. These weird and ghastly tales are a wonderful gateway not only into the world of Victorian literature and entertainment, but also into the period’s relationship to (among other things) global empire/colonialism, technology, capitalism, class mobility, and community.

In addition to their wonderful entertainment value, a great benefit of focusing on this genre is that the texts are shorter than your average Victorian novel. As a result, we will be able cover a good range of authors, decades, and sub-genres in our short time together.  

The instructor will provide some historical context, but please note that this will not be a lecture course; rather, it will be a place for you to actively discuss these works. Come prepared to join in!

Here are the authors and the works we’ll explore together:

Session 1: CHARLES DICKENS

A Christmas Carol (1843)

“No. 1 Branchline. The Signalman” (1866)

Session 2: MISCELLANEOUS AUTHORS:

Sheridan Le Fanu, “An Account of Some Strange Disturbances                                       in Aungier Street” (1851)

Rudyard Kipling, “The Phantom Rickshaw” (1888)

W. W. Jacobs, “The Monkey’s Paw” (1902)

Session  3: VERNON LEE

Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales – selections (1890)

Session 4: HENRY JAMES

The Turn of the Screw (1898)

“The Third Person” (1900)

NOTE: Please purchase A Christmas Carol and other Christmas Stories, edited by Michael Slater (Penguin Classics; ISBN-10: 0140439056) and The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories, edited by T.J. Lustig (Oxford’s World Classics; ISBN-10: 9780199536177). This edition has the added advantage of containing a few other rarely printed ghost stories by Henry James.  The remaining stories will be provided in a reading packet at the first session.

Instructor: Sam Tett is an Associate Instructor of English at IU, and an advanced PhD candidate specializing in the long nineteenth century in Great Britain and North America. She hails from West Yorkshire in the U.K. Her work focuses on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, and Vernon Lee, among other writers of the nineteenth century, as well as on some twentieth-century writers, like Willa Cather.



Course At-A-Glance

Fee:  $80.00
  Must be 18 or older
  Fee Includes Most of the Reading Materials

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