Skip to main content

Artstor's Curriculum Guides

Images for Teaching are sets of images aligning with broad themes in a series of courses, from Shakespeare to Data Visualization.

Overview

This curriculum guide takes as its central focus four frequently studied texts of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gothic literature: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and John Polidori’s “The Vampyre.”  Students will discuss the origins of the gothic as a literary genre and proceed chronologically through the texts to discuss the development of the genre into the early nineteenth century. Students will use images from Artstor to develop their awareness of the recurring tropes of gothic fiction; to understand the relationship between gothic fiction and contemporary political struggles; to explore the often overlapping treatments of science, superstition, religion, and magic in gothic texts; and to interrogate the treatment of gender, sexuality, and social class in the genre.

Jennifer L. Airey, Associate Professor of English, The University of Tulsa

Introducing the Gothic

In this section, students will use images from Artstor to explore many recurring tropes of Gothic art and literature. In particular, students will explore the difference between terror and horror and interrogate the gothic focus on intoxicants, altered states, and dream states. Students will also question the ways in which gothic artists depict the natural world, and consider the ways in which ideas about gender and sexuality are conveyed visually.

View the group.

Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: Horace Walpole and His World

In this section, students will examine the origins of the gothic genre in Horace Walpole’s seminal The Castle of Otranto. Images will provide students with historical background on Walpole as an author and develop their awareness of the political underpinnings of his work. They will also provide insight into the gothic’s treatment of gender and social class.

View the group.

Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: Women in the Gothic

In this section, students will examine the origins of the gothic genre in Horace Walpole’s seminal The Castle of Otranto. Images will provide students with historical background on Walpole as an author and develop their awareness of the political underpinnings of his work. They will also provide insight into the gothic’s treatment of gender and social class.

View the group.

Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: Gothic Literature and Social Class

In this section, students will examine the origins of the gothic genre in Horace Walpole’s seminal The Castle of Otranto. Images will provide students with historical background on Walpole as an author and develop their awareness of the political underpinnings of his work. They will also provide insight into the gothic’s treatment of gender and social class.

View the group.

Matthew Lewis’s The Monk: Obscenity and the Female Reader

In this unit, students will explore Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, one of the most controversial novels of the later eighteenth century. Images in this section will acquaint students with the controversy surrounding the publication of The Monk and explore contemporary fears about the corruption of the female reader. Students will also learn about the impact of the French Revolution on gothic fiction of the later eighteenth century and examine allusions to the Revolution in Lewis’s novel. 

View the group.

Matthew Lewis’s The Monk: The Gothic and the French Revolution

In this unit, students will explore Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, one of the most controversial novels of the later eighteenth century. Images in this section will acquaint students with the controversy surrounding the publication of The Monk and explore contemporary fears about the corruption of the female reader. Students will also learn about the impact of the French Revolution on gothic fiction of the later eighteenth century and examine allusions to the Revolution in Lewis’s novel. 

View the group.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Mary Shelley and Her Circle

In this unit, images will provide students with biographical insight into Mary Shelley and her circle. Students will also reflect on Shelley’s engagement with Milton’s Paradise Lost and examine the relationship between science and religion in her novel. Finally, they will examine more recent adaptations of Frankenstein to interrogate the relationship between Shelley’s novel and modern versions of her text. 

View the group.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Milton, Science, and Religion

In this unit, images will provide students with biographical insight into Mary Shelley and her circle. Students will also reflect on Shelley’s engagement with Milton’s Paradise Lost and examine the relationship between science and religion in her novel. Finally, they will examine more recent adaptations of Frankenstein to interrogate the relationship between Shelley’s novel and modern versions of her text. 

View the group.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Modern Frankenstein Imagery

In this unit, images will provide students with biographical insight into Mary Shelley and her circle. Students will also reflect on Shelley’s engagement with Milton’s Paradise Lost and examine the relationship between science and religion in her novel. Finally, they will examine more recent adaptations of Frankenstein to interrogate the relationship between Shelley’s novel and modern versions of her text. 

View the group.

John Polidori’s “The Vampyre”: Vampire Imagery

In this unit, students will use images to examine the development of vampire imagery from Polidori’s short story—the first vampire story in English literature—to the modern day. Images will also reflect the use of vampire imagery in nineteenth-century political propaganda, provide insight into Byron’s influence on Polidori, and trace the development of Byron’s reputation as the first modern celebrity. 

View the group.

John Polidori’s “The Vampyre”: Polidori and Lord Byron

In this unit, students will use images to examine the development of vampire imagery from Polidori’s short story—the first vampire story in English literature—to the modern day. Images will also reflect the use of vampire imagery in nineteenth-century political propaganda, provide insight into Byron’s influence on Polidori, and trace the development of Byron’s reputation as the first modern celebrity. 

View the group.