Blogging Buffy for the 20th Anniversary (with Werewolves)

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, the Sheffield Gothic Reading Group have dedicated a series of blogs to this timeless element of popular culture. (I wrote my own personal reflections of my childhood with Buffy here).

I was honoured to be asked to write something for Sheffield Gothic’s Buffy blog series and I dedicated my post to the character of Oz. Indeed, I actually managed to write two blog posts about him, you can find Part One here and Part Two here. I would recommend sitting down and reading as many of the blogs as you like. They are roughly chronological, centring on different themes, characters and beliefs which fuel the series. Perfect reading as the nights draw in and we head towards Halloween.

 

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A seasonal makeover for everyone’s birthday favourite Colin the Caterpillar

According to British etiquette, a birthday isn’t a birthday unless someone has bought a Colin the Caterpillar cake from Marks and Spencer.

However, for those who feel that his cheerful face is a little too wholesome as we start approaching Halloween, M&S have revealed a ghoulish version, the ominous sounding ‘Count Colin’. As the picture shows, he also comes with grizzly little friends, who resemble maggots. I, for one, can’t wait to get my teeth into him.

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Latest YA Fantasy Reading

We now and then like to supply reading lists that we have come across from various sources. These have all been placed in their own Reading Lists category so you can easily search through them.

The Barnes & Noble Teen Blog is always a very reliable source for YA Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (and YA fiction in general) and well worth following (it’s hard to keep up with trends in this prolific area). There’s a link on our site in the Blogroll section, but we like to give digests every now and then.

In this post, I’ve collated three reading lists. The first is on that ever-fascinating subgenre of YA fantasy–adaptations and revisions of classic fairy tales: Dahlia Adler writes on ‘6 New Retellings for Fairy-Tale Fans‘. There are reworkings here of ‘Cinderella’, ‘Snow White’, ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, and (of special OGOM interest) ‘Beauty and the Beast’, coloured by Russian and Chinese culture among other things. They all look quite compelling.

Next, ‘7 Great YA Fantasy Duologies‘. Again, a very promising array of fictions, with outsiders and rebels, and employing Indian folktale, prehistoric settings, and the Scheherezade motif.

Finally, YA fiction is very much concerned with representations of (often alternative) subjectivity these days and it is good to see that writers in the field are giving voice to bisexual characters. Paranormal romance, based on the exploration of otherness through the trope of the sympathetic monster is well-suited to this, though not all the novels in this list of ‘16 Great 2017 YAs that Celebrate Bi Visibility‘ are in the fantastic mode.

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YA Literature, Media, and Culture website

Dr Leah Phillips, a researcher in YA literature, has set up a marvellous resource, the YA Literature, Media, and Culture Research Network website. This is still being developed but already holds a useful database of YA literature researchers, a news section, CFPs, and a reading list. I’ve added a link in our Related Links section on the Blog and Resources pages of this site.

As part of her intention to promote networking in the field, Leah welcomes details for her database, so do please add your details. You can do this via the online spreadsheet here.

Leah Phillips is, as she says on her blog, ‘an inter-disciplinarian with a particular interest in children’s and YA literature, the discursive category of adolescence, and the embodied state of being an adolescent girl. I’m also fascinated by contemporary media culture’s role in the production of adolescence/adolescent girls as well as how adolescent girls speak back to those productions’.

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Lincoln Book Festival has a Gothic theme

In a previous post, I mentioned that the theme for this year’s Lincoln Book Festival (25th-30th September 2017) is the Gothic. This year they had a Flash Fiction Competition which I entered. Much to my surprise (I’m not a creative writer), I received a lovely letter and certificate earlier this week to tell me that I was one of two runners up in the adult category.

My story was entitled ‘Dark night, fens’, which now sounds incredibly pretentious. It was inspired by the folklore of will-o’-the-wisps, strange lights which entice travellers into the marshlands where they meet their demise.

You can read my story below (it’s only 50 words).

Dark night, fens

Dark night on the fens. A traveller strikes out, wending her way through treacherous marsh. Lost, she sees far in the distance a pale green light. Onward then. Dense sludge sucks at her ankles. The light beckons, deeper into quagmire. She stops to catch her breath but finds herself caught.

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Dracula: An International Perspective (Palgrave Gothic)

Since Dracula is in the news just now following my stint on the BBC World Service  I thought I would mention an essay I wrote on the novel which grew out of OGOM’s collaboration with scholars at the University of Timisoara in Romania. Kaja and I have both visited and contributed to symposia there. My essay is inspired by my visits to Romania and the novel’s troubled history in that country. After my first visit I was invited back to deliver a plenary at the ‘Beliefs and Behaviours in Education and Culture’ conference  I blogged on my return about Bram Stoker’s ambiguous legacy and the fact that generations of Romanians were not allowed access to the novel.  Ceauceascu banned the novel and film of Dracula so those coming of age in Romania in the 1980s would not be familiar with the country’s most infamous resident.

Out of these debates has grown Dracula : An International Perspective, ed. by  Marius-Mircea Crisan in the Palgrave Gothic Series. The book draws on literature, tourism, and film and argues that the development of the Dracula myth is the result of complex international influences and cultural interactions. My essay is entitled ‘Spirited Away: Dream Work, the Outsider and the Representation of Transylvania in the Pied Piper and Dracula Myth in Britain and Germany’.The book which also boasts essays by William Hughes, Clive Bloom, Carol Senf, Duncan Light, John Edgar Browning and others is out on October 31st. You can pre-order copies here!

Full Contents List: 

  1. “Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will”: Dracula in international contexts – Marius-Mircea Crisan.-
  2. The Casework Relationship: Le Fanu, Stoker and the Rhetorical Contexts of Irish Gothic – William Hughes.
  3. The Discourse of Italy in Nineteenth Century Irish Gothic: Maturin’s Fatal Revenge, Le Fanu’s exotic tales, and The Castle of Savina – Donatella Abbate Badin.
  4.  “Bloodthirsty and Remorseless Fangs”: Representation of East-Central Europe in Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic short stories – Lucian-Vasile Szabo, Marius-Mircea Crisan.
  5.  Spirited Away: Dream Work, the Outsider, and the Representation of Transylvania in the Pied Piper and Dracula Myth in Britain and Germany – Sam George.
  6. Count Dracula’s Lifetime Identity and Address – Hans Corneel de Roos
  7. Dracula and the Psychic World of the East End of London – Clive Bloom.
  8. Tourism and Travel in Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Duncan Light.
  9. Castle Hunedoara and the Dracula Myth: Connection or Speculation? – Marius-Mircea Crisan.
  10. Location and the Vampire: The Impact of Fictional Stories upon Associated Locations – Kristin L. Bone.
  11. In Search of Dracula’s Oracular History – John Edgar Browning.-
  12. Vampiric Emotion and Identity in Dracula and Interview with the Vampire – Nancy Schumann.
  13. Gothic and Horror in Contemporary Cinema and Television: Aesthetic Experience and Emotional Impact – Magdalena Grabias
  14. Papa Dracula: Vampires for Family Values? – Dorota Babilas.
  15. The Evolution of Gothic Spaces: Ruins, Forests, Urban Jungles – Carol Senf.

 

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Sam on Radio: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Just a reminder that Sam is on BBC World Service tonight discussing Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Bridget Kendall, Dacre Stoker, and Dr Sorcha Ni Fhlainn at 20.06–details here. You can also listen again from this web page.

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Event: Bram Stoker and the History of the Vampire’s Reflection

Join me to view the figure of the vampire through the looking glass of the Victorian age. The evening will include a question and answers session and will be followed by a wine reception. The event takes place at the wonderful Victorian Picture Gallery and is free but you need to book! 

Registration is now open. Hope to see you there! 

 ‘Dr Sam George, ‘Bram Stoker and the History of the Vampire’s Reflection’, Royal Holloway Centre for Victorian Studies, 19th October, 6.30 p.m.

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The Forum ‘Dracula’ BBC Sept 16th

Here’s an up-to-date link to the programme I recorded last week on Dracula. It is broadcast at 20.06 on the 16th September. Do let me know if you enjoy it. Sam

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csv0rt

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CFP: Let’s Go to Work: The Legacy of Angel – A Slayage Special Issue

On October 5th 1999, the first episode of Angel – the spin-off to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – aired on the WB. The television show ran for five seasons and ended with a bang – or at least with a dragon – on May 19th 2004. The story continued in comic book form, including Angel: After the Fall (IDW Publishing), Angel & Faith Season 9 and Angel & Faith Season 10 (Dark Horse Comics). While the show has received critical attention in the form of journal articles in Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, Critical Studies in Television, Refractory, and Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, as well as a small number of books, the series has never received the same level of critical attention as its parent-text Buffy as well as other Whedon/Mutant Enemy texts. Yet its aesthetic hybridity and horror pedigree, as well as its preoccupation with themes of redemption, masculinity, corporate evil, apocalypse, and the need to keep fighting the good fight in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, make it increasingly relevant. More so than ever, Angel’s epiphany ‘If nothing you do matters, then all that matters is what you do’ speaks to the contemporary reality of our socio-political landscape.

The show’s 20th anniversary in 2019 is an ideal opportunity to reflect once again upon Angel, not only in terms of its significance as a series, but also the legacy and influence of the show, in terms of content, theme, and personnel. The editors of this special issue – Stacey Abbott and Simon Brown – thus invite proposals for papers on any aspect of Angel the television series and/or its comic-book spin-offs. As Angel tells his team as they face a horde of demons and monsters ‘Let’s go to work’.

Proposals may include, but are not restricted to:
• Aesthetics and production contexts
• Discussions of direction, editing, music, set design, and sound
• Representations of the city
• Examinations of key themes such as: masculinity, redemption, apocalypse, and/or Corporate Evil
• Issues of gender
• Angel as apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction
Angel and genre (comedy, horror, Film Noir, melodrama)
• The Angel finale
Angel in relation to other Whedon texts
Angel in relation to other vampire TV series (True Blood, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Strain, Penny Dreadful)
Angel and TV Horror
• The legacy of the sympathetic/reluctant vampire
Angel: After the Fall, Angel & Faith, and other comics
• Transmediality
• Fandom
• Legacy of the creators of Angel (e.g. Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf, Tim Minear, Jane Espenson, Steven DeKnight, Ben Edlund, Drew Goddard, Jeffrey Bell, Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain, Marita Grabiak)
• Legacy of the cast

Please send a 200-300 word proposal and a short bio by the 15th January 2018 to Stacey Abbott (s.abbott@roehampton.ac.uk) and Simon Brown (simon.brown@kingston.ac.uk). Decisions will be made, and everyone will be notified, by the 12th February 2018. If your proposal is accepted please note that a first draft will be due by the 29th June 2018.

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