In the Open Graves, Open Minds Project, we unearthed depictions of the vampire and the undead in literature, art, and other media, before embracing shapeshifters and other supernatural beings and their worlds. OGOM opens up questions concerning genre, gender, hybridity, cultural change, and other realms. The Project extends to all narratives of the fantastic, the folkloric, the fabulous, and the magical.
The University of South Wales, in association with the IVFAF, calls for papers by scholars interested in presenting their researched essays on vampire literature, film, folklore, theatre, games, graphic novels, lifestyle, fashion, music and wider art in the fourth annual Vampire Academic Conference (VAC) that runs alongside the festival in London.
Our conference aims to explore this relationship between technology and the Gothic by focussing upon its intersection as depicted on screen within visual media, with a specific focus on how such concerns impact on gender representations and, in particular, women.
Revenant (www.revenantjournal.com) is now accepting abstracts for articles, creative writing pieces, and book, film, game, or event reviews for a themed issue on zombies, examining the social and cultural evolution of the zombie.
In the midst of a renewed interest in horror as a medium for the expression of cultural and social issues, this collection will take advantage of an underdeveloped field of scholarship and create new scholarly conversations focused on youth and young adult television and horror film.
Sheffield Gothic is delighted to announce our 2019 Reimagining the Gothic creative competition! Each year as part of Reimagining the Gothic we hold a creative showcase: an opportunity to explore the theme through various creative methods. This year, that theme is ‘Returns, Revenge, Reckonings’ – think everything from Senecan tragedies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from noble avengers to usurping Counts, from vengeful lovers to prophetic witches.
‘Some curious disquiet’: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its progeny A symposium for the bicentenary of The Vampyre’
6-7 April 2019, Keats House, Hampstead
We’re beyond excited to announce our next event (above) in the spring. John Polidori published his tale The Vampyre in 1819. It is well known that his vampire emerged out of the same storytelling contest at the Villa Diodati in 1816 that gave birth to that other archetype of the Gothic heritage, Frankenstein’s monster. Present at this gathering were Polidori (who was Byron’s physician), Mary Godwin, Frankenstein’s author; Claire Clairmont, Percy Shelley, and (crucially) Lord Byron.
Byron’s contribution to
the contest was an inconclusive fragment about a mysterious man characterised
by ‘a curious disquiet’. Polidori took this fragment and turned it into the
tale of the vampire Lord Ruthven, preying on the vulnerable women of society. The Vampyre was something of a sensation
(partially owing to its misattribution to Byron) and spawned stage versions and
imitations that were hugely popular.
Sir Christopher Frayling declares The Vampyre to be ‘the first story successfully to fuse the
disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent literary genre’. This could be
qualified; if short political satires and ethnographical enquiries featuring
the monster constitute genres, then these had already emerged out of folkloric
accounts during the eighteenth century. But Polidori gave the creature the form
that largely persists through subsequent vampire narratives, transforming it
from the animalistic monster of the Slavic peasantry to something that can
haunt the drawing rooms of Western society, undetected. Polidori’s Lord
Ruthven, modelled on Lord Byron via Lady Caroline Lamb’s scandalous Glenarvon (1818), is aristocratic and
sexualised and, though something of a blank canvas, even potentially
sympathetic, providing a template for the ‘Byronic hero’ that features in
Gothic romance down to the paranormal romances of the present day. Thus, the
familiar vampires Count Dracula (1897), Anne Rice’s Lestat (1976), and the
infamously sparkly Edward Cullen of Twilight
(2005) can all claim to have been his heir.
Guest speakers have been invited to share their research into the many variations on monstrosity and deadly allure spawned by Polidori’s seminal textual reincarnation of Byronic glamour. The delegates have been selected for their expertise in the Byronic, the Gothic, and the vampiric. They include but are not limited to the following: Sir Christopher Frayling, Prof. Catherine Spooner, Prof. William Hughes, Dr Stacey Abbott, Dr Sue Chaplin, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes, Prof. Nick Groom, Prof. Gina Wisker, Dr Sam George, Dr Bill Hughes, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, writer Marcus Sedgwick, and OGOM ECRs and doctoral students Dr Kaja Franck, Matt Beresford, Daisy Butcher, and Dr Jillian Wingfield.
The Symposium is being held at the beautiful Keats House, Hampstead (where OGOM held a symposium for Bram Stoker’s centenary in 2012). Keats House is where the poet John Keats lived from 1818 to 1820, and is the setting that inspired some of Keats’s most memorable poetry. Here, Keats wrote ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door. It was from this house that he travelled to Rome, where he died of tuberculosis aged just 25. The poet John Keats created one incarnation of the vampire in his Lamia (1820).
The event will include a tour of Keats House (who hold a first edition of The Vampyre) and a trip to Highgate Cemetery, home of the Highgate Vampire (a sensation of the 1970s), and where Karl Marx (who made good use of the vampire metaphor) and Lizzie Siddal lie. Lizzie wrote poetry and is known as the muse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He famously buried his poems with her when she died from laudanum poisoning in 1862. He later exhumed her grave and she was said to have not decomposed, her beautiful auburn hair had not faded. This story has been linked to the description of the vampire Lucy in her coffin in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Tim Powers‘s 2012 novel Hide Me Among the Graves claims that Rossetti exhumed her not toregain his poems but to defeat a vampire, her husband’s uncle, John Polidori! Douglas Adams, Christina Rossetti, and other luminaries also lie in the cemetery, in peace (we hope).
1. From the brilliant people at Supernatural Cities (who were such good partners at our Urban Weird conference in April this year), the Magical Cities conference, 15 June 2019, University of Portsmouth. Deadline: 31 January 2019
The University of Portsmouth’s Supernatural Cities research group presents their fourth conference: Magical Cities. This one-day conference seeks to explore the magical potential of urban environments.
Taking its name from Sophia Kingshill’s and Jennifer Westwood’s seminal book The Fabled Coast, this conference will explore the abundance of folktales, legends, myths, songs and re-imaginings associated with coastal areas and maritime traditions and practices around the world.
3. Folk horror is another genre/area that we have been interested in recently. This conference looks excellent: Folk Horror in the 21st Century, Falmouth University 5-6 September 2019. Deadline: 1 April 2019
The conference organizers Ruth Heholt (Falmouth University, UK) and Dawn Keetley (Lehigh University, USA) invite proposals on all aspects of folk horror, in all periods, across all regions and in all mediums, exploring the meanings and manifestations of the folk horror renaissance in the 21st century.
4. This time, a call for articles for the Gramarye journal. It’s from the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tale and Fantasy again, seeking ‘articles and book reviews relating to creative, literary and historical approaches to folklore, fairy tales, fantasy, gothic, science fiction and magic realism for publication in Gramarye, its peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Chichester’.
This conference will bring together scholars and curators from the disciplines of Literature, Cultural History, Art and Architectural History, and Heritage to investigate LGBTQ perspectives on the “long” eighteenth century [. . .] the conference will complement a major exhibition taking place October 2018-February 2019, ‘The Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill’, which will bring together, for the first time since 1842, masterpieces from Walpole’s collection.
I am writing on Hans Andersen in my forthcoming book on shadow play and despite the discourse of suffering and redemption, the stories are full of imagination and sensibility, and are always heart-wrenchingly empathic. Many of the tales have a dark gothic gloom like those polar nights in a Scandinavian winter when there are only two or three hours of light a day and the sun skirts just below the horizon, never fully rising. In previous years I’ve posted about Andersen’s ‘The Fir Tree’, which feels pain and the bitterness of rejection when it is discarded. This year I have re-read ‘The Little Match Girl’ (first published in 1845). It is a story about a dying child’s hopes and dreams. ‘A sad tale is best for winter’ (A Winter’s Tale, 2.1) and Andersen imagines the child contemplating the loss of the person who loves her most, her grandmother, as the snow falls thickly outside. ‘The Little Match Girl’ teaches us to open our hearts to love and friendship even when those hearts are aching (reminiscent of the redemption of Scrooge, from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol). There is something of these sentiments in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Lifetoo. The film is based on a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern, who was moved to write it after having a dream based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Due to this film I grew up believing – when you hear a bell ringing an angel has just got its wings!
In Andersen’s story there is no such happy ending. A falling star signals an
earthly death (accompanied perhaps by a bell and a new angel ascending), but
whilst the little girl wishes to prolong the match’s flame she does not
rage against the ultimate dying of the light. She goes to her death with love
in her heart, though her body is frozen. As the sun comes up on New Year’s Eve,
we are made aware that her star has finally fallen.
It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark. Evening came on, the last evening of the year. In the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and barefoot, was walking through the streets[….] In an old apron she carried several packages of matches, and she held a box of them in her hand. No one had bought any from her all day long, and no one had given her a half penny.
Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along […] The snowflakes fell on her long fair hair, which hung in pretty curls over her neck. In all the windows lights were shining, and there was a wonderful smell of roast goose, for it was New Year’s eve. Yes, she thought of that!
In a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected farther
out into the street than the other, she sat down and drew up her little feet
under her. She was getting colder and colder, but did not dare to go home, for
she had sold no matches, nor earned a single cent, and her father would surely
beat her. Besides, it was cold at home, for they had nothing over them but a
roof through which the wind whistled even though the biggest cracks had been
stuffed with straw and rags.
Her hands were almost dead with cold. Oh, how much one little
match might warm her! If she could only take one from the box and rub it
against the wall and warm her hands. She drew one out. R-r-ratch! How
it sputtered and burned! It made a warm, bright flame, like a little candle, as
she held her hands over it; but it gave a strange light! It really seemed to
the little girl as if she were sitting before a great iron stove with shining
brass knobs and a brass cover. How wonderfully the fire burned! How comfortable
it was! The youngster stretched out her feet to warm them too; then the little
flame went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the burnt
match in her hand.
She struck another match against the wall. It burned brightly, and
when the light fell upon the wall it became transparent like a thin veil, and
she could see through it into a room. On the table a snow-white cloth was
spread, and on it stood a shining dinner service. The roast goose steamed
gloriously, stuffed with apples and prunes. And what was still better, the
goose jumped down from the dish and waddled along the floor with a knife and
fork in its breast, right over to the little girl. Then the match went out, and
she could see only the thick, cold wall. She lighted another match. Then she
was sitting under the most beautiful Christmas tree. It was much larger and
much more beautiful than the one she had seen last Christmas through the glass
door at the rich merchant’s home. Thousands of candles burned on the green
branches, and coloured pictures like those in the printshops looked down at
her. The little girl reached both her hands toward them. Then the match went
out. But the Christmas lights mounted higher. She saw them now as bright stars
in the sky. One of them fell down, forming a long line of fire.
“Now someone is dying,” thought the little girl, for her old
grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now dead, had told
her that when a star fell down a soul went up to God.
She rubbed another match against the wall. It became bright again,
and in the glow the old grandmother stood clear and shining, kind and lovely.
“Grandmother!” cried the child. “Oh, take me with you! I know you
will disappear when the match is burned out. You will vanish like the warm
stove, the wonderful roast goose and the beautiful big Christmas tree!”
And she quickly struck the whole bundle of matches, for she wished
to keep her grandmother with her. And the matches burned with such a glow that
it became brighter than daylight. Grandmother had never been so grand and
beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and both of them flew in
brightness and joy above the earth, very, very high, and up there was neither
cold, nor hunger, nor fear-they were with God.
But in the corner, leaning against the wall, sat the little girl
with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to death on the last evening of the
old year. The New Year’s sun rose upon a little pathetic figure. The child
sat there, stiff and cold, holding the matches, of which one bundle was almost
“She wanted to warm herself,” the people said. No one imagined
what beautiful things she had seen, and how happily she had gone with her old
grandmother into the bright New Year.
I am posting this in
memory of my mother and my two grandmothers and in celebration of Christmas
past and present.
Following the success of our Supernatural St Albans Hallowe’en Tour, and back by popular demand, we are undertaking our spook-tacular tour of St Albans as a festive treat on Saturday 8th December. Led by OGOM’s Dr Kaja Franck, the trip will be exploring the magical and spectral history of Hertfordshire’s finest Gothic city. The event is informed by the research we carried out for our Urban Weird project in collaboration with Supernatural Cities. We have explored the weird and the eerie, and those uncanny or submerged histories that give play to the imagination and rise up to frame spacial narratives.
St Albans is home to tortured martyrs, ghostly monks, pagan gods, grotesque carvings, an ancient dragon or wyrm’s lair, succubi, winged skulls, witches, Wicca communities, folklore rituals, and more.
Meet at the Clock Tower, St Albans, 3.30pm. The tour lasts 90 minutes. Price £10.00 to be paid in cash on the day. Make sure you wrap up warm, wear sensible shoes, and bring a torch as we will be out after dark!
We invite the submission of abstracts that explore the theme of Gothic Terror, Gothic Horror. We welcome proposed panels of three related papers. Since this IGA conference is the first to be held in the United States, we encourage proposals that consider the theme in relation to the American Gothic.
Then, at the University of Glasgow, there is the Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations conference Mapping the Mythosphere, 23-24 May 2019. Deadline: not given.
GIFCon 2019 is a two-day symposium that seeks to examine and honour the relationships between the different strands of Fantasy and the individual Fantastic works that make up the Mythosphere, be they books, films, games or comics. We welcome proposals for papers relating to this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of Fantasy and the Fantastic across all media, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers.
It’s the ten-year anniversary of the first film of Stephenie Meyers’s Twilight series (Twilight, dir. by Catherine Hardwicke), the YA vampire paranormal romance which became a sensation. Both book and film, and the adulation both received, attracted much criticism, often from a feminist perspective that objected to the values portrayed but often in a way that disparaged the books and films’ admirers. These two articles reappraise what was a significant cultural phenomenon, restoring some agency to the fans themselves. I don’t think the questions on the feminist or otherwise force of Twilight are resolved here, however.
We invite essay proposals on the vampire figure in the long nineteenth century. Our edited collection will look at the vampire figure’s rise in popularity throughout the period and across a range of literary texts.
This conference will explore the experimental, subversive and/or disruptive potential of Irish and international literature and culture for young people. The conference will also consider the extent to which children’s and young-adult texts and culture can promote, cultivate and/or establish radical representations and ideas.
This interdisciplinary conference will analyse and discuss the transformations undergone by the Gothic genre since the late 1970s up to today within the fields of fiction, the visual arts and other forms of popular culture. Special emphasis will fall on the appropriation and reformulation routines in the works under assessment plus the continuity (or discontinuity) of classic tropes.
I’m posting this Scottish folklore poetry re-imagined with an LGBT twist for those interested in selkie literature. The book will launch at LGBT History Month in Scotland in February 2019. Students of the Generation Dead: YA Fiction and the Gothic course will be looking at the Selkie novel Tides in a few weeks time with its theme of inbetweeness, and this provides us with a lively alternative context.
A set of conference CFPs and call for articles: 1. Academic Vampire Conference: Hammer, Highgate, and the Vampire, 10-13 July 2019, Lauderdale House, Highgate Village. Deadline: 3 May 2019. The University of South Wales, in association with the IVFAF, calls … Continue reading →
‘Some curious disquiet’: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its progeny A symposium for the bicentenary of The Vampyre’ 6-7 April 2019, Keats House, Hampstead We’re beyond excited to announce our next event (above) in the spring. John Polidori published his … Continue reading →
Some more CFPs to tempt you: 1. From the brilliant people at Supernatural Cities (who were such good partners at our Urban Weird conference in April this year), the Magical Cities conference, 15 June 2019, University of Portsmouth. Deadline: 31 … Continue reading →
I am writing on Hans Andersen in my forthcoming book on shadow play and despite the discourse of suffering and redemption, the stories are full of imagination and sensibility, and are always heart-wrenchingly empathic. Many of the tales have a … Continue reading →
Following the success of our Supernatural St Albans Hallowe’en Tour, and back by popular demand, we are undertaking our spook-tacular tour of St Albans as a festive treat on Saturday 8th December. Led by OGOM’s Dr Kaja Franck, the trip will … Continue reading →
Calls for papers for two exciting conferences. First, following the fabulous IGA 2018 in Manchester, the IGA 2019 conference, Gothic Terror, Gothic Horror is being held on 30 July to 2 August 2019, at Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois, United States. Deadline: … Continue reading →
It’s the ten-year anniversary of the first film of Stephenie Meyers’s Twilight series (Twilight, dir. by Catherine Hardwicke), the YA vampire paranormal romance which became a sensation. Both book and film, and the adulation both received, attracted much criticism, often … Continue reading →
An edited collection and two conferences seeking contributions: 1. Call for articles for A Feast of Blood: the Vampire in the Nineteenth Century. Deadline: 31 January 2019. We invite essay proposals on the vampire figure in the long nineteenth century. Our edited collection … Continue reading →
I’m posting this Scottish folklore poetry re-imagined with an LGBT twist for those interested in selkie literature. The book will launch at LGBT History Month in Scotland in February 2019. Students of the Generation Dead: YA Fiction and the Gothic … Continue reading →
Again, a bit too late for Hallowe’en, but a handful of essays on vampires here: 1. Recent research at the London Library on Bram Stoker’s annotations to source material for Dracula: ‘The Books That Made Dracula‘. 2. Austen Gilkeson, ‘The … Continue reading →
Three very tempting conferences with CFPs: 1. Myth and Dream / The Dreaming of Myth, University of Bologna, 23-24 May 2019; deadline 1 February 2019. The conference invites proposals addressing diverse approaches to the combination of myth and dream – … Continue reading →
This poem was meant as a light-hearted celebration of all things Gothic, and of scholars and students in the field. I crammed in as many tropes, archetypes, characters, and clichés as I could, torturously straining the rhymes on the rack. … Continue reading →
A bit behind with blogging, so quite a few Frankenstein items have accumulated (it being, as I’m sure you’ll know, the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication). First, a brief discussion, with some very useful links, of the claim by … Continue reading →
Some exciting calls for papers and articles: 1. Buffy and the Bible conference, University of Sheffield, 4-5 July 2019, deadline 18 March 2019 SIIBS and Sheffield Gothic are delighted to announce a two day interdisciplinary conference: ‘Buffy and the Bible’ … Continue reading →
. @DrSamGeorge1 talks about the fascinating history behind this vampire slaying kit, which feeds into the research of the @OGOMProject.#halloween pic.twitter.com/VIKQyktHZV — University of Hertfordshire (@UniofHerts) October 31, 2018 ‘ but those mine enemies, which would not that I should … Continue reading →
Hello OGOMERS, Wishing you a spooktacular Hallowe’en evening!!! We are just back from our Supernatural St Albans Halloween Tour which went down a real treat. Around 40 people engaged in our wonderfully weird history of witches, tortured martyrs, vampire graves, dragons, … Continue reading →
Older than Dracula: in search of the English vampire The Premature Burial. Antoine Wiertz (1854) Sam George, University of Hertfordshire The story of Count Dracula as many of us know it was created by Bram Stoker, an Irishman, in 1897. … Continue reading →
We’re excited to announce that we have submitted our special issue of Gothic Studies on ‘Werewolves, Wild Children and Wilderness‘ to Edinburgh University Press for publication in May, 2019. This is the first of two publications that have developed from … Continue reading →
I am mapping ‘deviant’ burials for a piece I am writing on Wharram Percy, the medieval English village that mutilated its own dead, including many women and children. Whatever these people believed eventually took hold completely and led to them … Continue reading →