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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Sympathy for the Devil: A Century of Scottish Short Stories

While the short story is often said to have developed in America nineteenth-century Scottish writing is in fact instrumental to the emergence of the form. Often drawing on oral and folk traditions Scottish writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries employ the supernatural , or our fear of it, to explore subjects such as guilt, fear, remorse and the extent to which we can control our own destinies. This course will explore the ways in which the short story in Scotland develops from the early nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. It will include writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, John Galt, Margaret Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Findlater and Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Online Sustained Study No
  • Professor Alison Lumsden

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • English (EL) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

While the short story is often said to have developed in America nineteenth-century Scotland witnessed the rise in this form. Often following the traditions of folk culture and tale writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and Margaret Oliphant exploited this form to explore the limits of the supernatural and our fears of it. By doing so they explore themes such as gult, remorse, and the extent to which we can control our own destinies. This tradition continued into the twentieth century and its legacy can be found in the work of writers like Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Arthur Conan Doyle. This course will examine a century of Scottish short stories, their relationship to the Gothic and the supernatural and the themes they raise through this approach.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Close reading exercise (30%), One essay of 3000 words (50%), contributions to on-line journal (10%) and seminar assessment mark (10%)

Resit: One on-line essay of 3000 words (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Feedback will be given in a writtten form. An opportunity for oral feedback will be provided.

Course Learning Outcomes


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