ENG4428 – Encountering the Supernatural in English Literature

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course explores the presence of the supernatural in English-language literature, with a focus on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Students will work with a range of literary and critical texts, each of which offers new perspectives on themes such as spectrality and haunting, magic, rationality, the “disenchantment of the world” and the relationship between humanity and the cosmos. Through readings, seminar discussion and term paper research, students will also gain awareness of various important concepts from intellectual fields such as psychoanalysis, deconstruction, the philosophy of nature and the theory of history.

The course will be supported with a blog to which all students will contribute one critical post (engaging in interpretation of a text or topic) and one creative post (making imaginative use of one or more media in response to an aspect of the course) during the semester.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have:

  • gained awareness of the role and significance of the supernatural in Anglophone literary texts and cultural movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • learned to place key literary texts and traditions in dialogue with contemporary critical discourse
  • developed the ability to relate the course materials and themes to intellectual and theoretical discussions of major issues such as:
    • modernity and secularisation
    • belief, cultural difference and the horizons of possibility
    • human and nonhuman agency
    • historical experience and the presence of the past
    • reason and unreason
    • realism
  • gained enhanced skills in literary and cultural analysis and activated these by creating both critical and creative contributions to a course blog, building a dialogue with fellow students
  • demonstrated the ability to select, organise, research and deliver a final written project


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Seminars, 2 hours per week for 10 weeks.

Obligatory activity:

  • The obligatory activities during the course itself will involve two blog posts. There will be two categories, “critical” and “creative”; students will do one of each (in whichever order they choose). For each category, there will be a list of approved formats. This is a preliminary version:
    • Critical: Response to a primary text; response to a secondary text; response to a seminar topic/discussion
    • Creative: Photo essay; poster; audio/video recording; short fiction; poetry; digital media
  • In addition to making these two posts, students will write two comments on others’ posts (four comments in total during the semester). These will follow the principles of peer mentoring and constructive feedback. Read more here about rules concerning valid excuses and how to apply for postponements. Information about guidelines for obligatory activities.
  • It is obligatory to show up for a minimum of 60% of the teaching. In this course you have to attend 6 of 10 seminars. The requirement is absolute.

The allowed absence limit will cover all absences, including illness. You will not be granted valid absences with documentation, even when the absence is due to something beyond your control.

If the course has in-person teaching, and you are signed up for an in-person seminar group, you are to attend the teaching in the location found in the schedule.

If the course has digital teaching, and you are signed up for a digital seminar group, you must attend via Zoom with your camera on.

In certain circumstances, i.e. serious or chronic illness, you could apply for special needs accomodations.


The form of assessment is a term paper of 10-12 standard pages (a standard page consists of 2,300 characters). References and bibliography comes in addition.

You will be offered individual term paper supervision.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2022

This course is offered irregularly


Autumn 2022

Teaching language