More than something weird: Teaching Australian Gothic in the classroom

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

English in Australia


Australian Association for the Teaching of English


School of Arts and Humanities / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Mazza, D., de Boer, N., & Rhodes, D. (2022). More than something weird: Teaching Australian gothic in the classroom. English in Australia, 56(3), 25-35.


Teaching Australian Gothic as a system of literary analysis can be challenging. Often linked to imprecise concepts that are difficult to identify, Australian Gothic is regularly reduced to 'something weird' or 'just a feeling'. However, the Gothic mode in Australia has established itself as an effective approach and developed some clear strategies for tackling some aspects of colonial legacy which are otherwise difficult to articulate. There is also within the Australian Gothic genre an opportunity to explore the dark side of the Australian experience. The landscape of Australia, the vastness of the continent, the perceived hostility of its natural environment, the violence of the European invasion, the experience of exile from Europe, the feelings of alienation faced by the early settlers, and the fear of the racial other (Doolan, 2019) combine to create the perfect tensions for the Gothic genre. The research presented here synthesises various authorities on this subject, driven by a broad review of recent fiction and theory on the topic, and provides a succinct list of guiding questions to use in the classroom. A selection of texts that may prove helpful to teachers seeking new sources to inform classroom discussion of contemporary fiction and film is also discussed.

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