Gothic Novel Final Project Information


For the final project for this course, you need to choose a gothic novel that is not on the syllabus.  I have a list of pre-approved books (I e-mailed it to you already), but I am very much open to you finding something else on your own.  Before you get your heart set on a particular novel, drop me an e-mail or ask me in class about your proposed text.  I will only allow one student for any given book, so be sure to let me know what book youÕre planning to do (even if itÕs on the Òpre-approvedÓ list).  If youÕre having trouble finding a book, or donÕt know where to begin in choosing, please let me know. If you tell me about what authors/themes/time periods interest you, I can help you to find something that you will (hopefully) enjoy. 


The final project will have two parts, a presentation and a paper, as described below:



Presentations will happen on Monday, May 2nd and Wednesday, May 4th, with possible overflow into Monday, May 9th.  Please let me know immediately if you will NOT be able to present on one of these days.  IÕll let you know your presentation date as the end of the semester draws near.


At the time of the presentation, it would be advisable, though not required, to have finished reading the novel.  The main point of the presentations is to share what youÕve learned on your own with the rest of the class.  You do not have to stand up in front of the class (unless you wish to do so).  The presentations can be relatively informal – basically, we sit in a circle and the presenter talks about the novel that he/she read.  Here is what you should do in the presentation:

"  Create a handout (we have 30 students) OR a poster OR a powerpoint slide (NOT all 3!).  The handout/poster/slide should include basic publication data (title, author, date, etc.) and a short summary.  Other than that, the handout design and content should follow your own interests.  You could include quotes from the text, create or find related images, make a family tree or narration diagram, offer bullet-pointed notes about the text, or explain how it connects with other novels weÕve read in the class.  At the very least, you should provide me with a hard copy of your handout or powerpoint slide. 

"  Provide your classmates with a roughly 5- to 8- minute presentation.  YouÕll be able to use what you have on the handout as a guide to your talk – again, go with what interests you most about the book.  In part, youÕll need some level of plot summary, as well as your own response or review (thumbs up, thumbs down, and WHY!).  It would also be useful to connect the book you read with what weÕve learned about the Gothic tradition in this course.  What book(s) from the syllabus have similar (or very different) styles, tones, or content?  What makes this novel gothic?  You can consider the presentation a forum for you to try out some ideas you may have for your final paper.  Doing your own presentation and watching those of others should help to give you ideas for your own final paper, and help us all reflect on what weÕve learned about the gothic tradition in literature over the course of the semester.



The final paper should be about 8 to 10 pages on one gothic novel not on the syllabus. You should read the novel and connect it to the history of the gothic as we have explored it in the course.  This paper is not a plot summary; it should focus on an analysis of the novel, including how it fits into the larger genre of the gothic. 


In your final paper, you must also include at least one scholarly source – an academic article that focuses on the novel youÕre discussing, or that touches on an issue in your paper.  As you begin your research, you should start at the LIBRARY website, not at google or other general search engines.  You may of course use more than one secondary source, but you are not required to do so.  Basically, I want you to be engaging with the larger critical debate surrounding your chosen text (or the Gothic more generally).  If youÕre not sure your source is appropriate, please ask.  Scholarly sources are published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the PMLA, or the Journal of American Literature, or Gothic Studies.  Such journals typically require subscriptions (often quite expensive!).  Our library (and your tuition dollars) pays for access to many very expensive databases that will give you access to these journals.   You need to get good scholarly, academic sources., wikipedia, and other web sites of that nature are not appropriate for this assignment.  If you need help with the research part, visit the libraryÕs web site, talk to a librarian, or ask me for help!


Here are some of the things you should do in the paper (in no particular order here; however, you SHOULD develop an order that works for your own paper!):

"  Thumbnail sketch of plot summary (a paragraph or so – really! DonÕt do too much of this!)

"  Your response/recommendation – what you liked or disliked about the novel.  BE SPECIFIC and explain why you had the reaction you did.

"  Close reading of a few passages:  You should have quotes (properly cited of course!!) from the text to illustrate your points and ideas.  Just as you did with the exam and the two earlier papers, you will want to discuss the quotes – talk about the details and specific language in the quote.

"  Connect the novel to what you know of the gothic tradition.  This might include connections with specific novels from the class, or with various gothic ideas weÕve discussed.  How does your novel connect with or depart from the tradition as you understand it. 

"  Introduce your scholarly source.  YouÕll need a few quotes from it, and, more importantly, you will need YOUR RESPONSE to this authorÕs analysis.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Why?

"  A Works Cited list.  This might include only the outside novel itself.  Keep in mind that if you quote other books, you should cite the properly and include it in the Works Cited.  And keep in mind that you should cite ALL material that came from outside sources; do not plagiarize!


We will do peer response on our final papers during the last class meeting – Monday, May 9th.  You should bring a draft of at least two pages to that class meeting.  The longer your draft is, the better off you will be.  You will get more feedback (and more useful feedback) from your peers, you will be able to ask me more questions, and youÕll have made a good start on the paper early (which is ALWAYS a good idea).  Complete drafts are welcome.  You could also bring a draft that includes a detailed outline, or even a skeletal outline.  Just remember that itÕs in your own best interest to bring the most advanced draft you possibly can.


The final version of the paper is due during the final exam period.  Please have your paper turned into my mailbox or office – IÕll leave an envelope on the door – by 2pm on Monday, May 16th   E-mail me with questions: