Study Guide - The Gothic Wanderer:
From Transgression to Redemption, Gothic Literature
from 1794—present

This instructor’s manual is intended to assist the teacher of Gothic studies with questions for classroom discussion. The questions pertain to the various pieces of Gothic literature discussed in The Gothic Wanderer, as well as various Gothic elements and themes highlighted, and perhaps most importantly, Gothic literature’s value and relevance to contemporary students’ lives and to the twenty-first century.

The increased interest in the Gothic in recent years has led to it permeating people’s lives in numerous ways from popular films and books to fashion and even the Goth lifestyle. Horrific events in recent years—the September 11th terrorist attacks; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the revolutions in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere; fears of biological weapons; the swine and bird flu; criminal behavior by politicians, corporations, and clergy; school shootings; bombings; and countless other terrors—have led to many people having more cynical, existential, and pessimistic views of the world. Students may feel attracted to the Gothic from a sense of identifying with it as reflecting the real world around them. Therefore, the Gothic remains intensely relevant to our lives today.

My wish is that this instructor’s manual will allow educators to introduce their students to the Gothic in a way that brushes away the cobwebs on what may be perceived as old, dusty texts from two centuries ago. Students will hopefully awaken to the realization that the Gothic captures the beginnings of the modern world and all the fears that accompanied it as monarchy was replaced with democracy and the agrarian world was replaced by an industrial and more recently a technological one. The same fears that initiated Gothic fiction remain with us today: To what extent is man able to experiment with Nature? Is there a God watching over us, and if so will He punish us for our mistakes? Is there such a place as home and where can one find it? Is the family a sacred unit, and what happens when it falls apart?

Any student who has known the effects of divorce in his or her life, who has lost a loved one, who has watched his best efforts result in failure, who has experienced a broken heart, who has known any feeling of pain or suffering, will identify with the Gothic tradition if it is introduced as significantly speaking to his or her life just as it spoke to the lives of its eighteenth and nineteenth century readers. In some sense, we are all Gothic wanderers, looking for some source of meaning and purpose in our lives, regretting our mistakes and hoping for the best for our futures. If the Gothic does not give us a balm to ease our suffering, it gives us room to discuss it, and in the discussion, perhaps meaning will be found.

Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D.
Marquette, Michigan
October 21, 2012

"This could be an effective book for teachers to send students to read. Tichelaar writes in a readable style; he really does tell the stories of his books effectively... I recommend [The Gothic Wanderer] for readers and teachers of the gothic."

- Ellen Moody, Ph.D.,
author of Trollope on the Net

Download Study Guide (PDF)

The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, Gothic Literature from 1794—present by Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D.

Copyright/Use Information

Instructors may obtain a desk copy or review copy by contacting Modern History Press at info@modernhistorypress.com.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

You are free to copy, distribute, and transmit the work.

The following conditions apply:

Attribution - You must attribute the work to Tyler R. Tichelaar and mention our web address www.GothicWanderer.com

Noncommercial - You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

© 2012 Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D.


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