Demon Lovers, Crime, and the Gothic at Bath Spa

I had a great time yesterday at Bath Spa University giving a presentation on the evolution of the Demon Lover in Gothic Romance and paranormal romance. I was invited by my doppelgänger Prof. Bill Hughes and heard a variety of excellent papers from postgraduates on the MA in Crime and Gothic Fictions, covering such diverse topics as eco-Gothic, natural disaster, serial bingeing, embodiment, urban legends, and Scottish Gothic. I’d like to thank Bill and everyone who came for such a stimulating conversation.

If anyone wants to hear more on the development of the Demonic Lover in their role as vampire, there is still time to come and see me and some very notable scholars of the Gothic talk on the origins of the literary vampire in John Polidori’s The Vampyre, whose bicentenary we are celebrating at this fabulous symposium.

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CFPs and Events: Frankenstein, Buffy, horror, hauntology, 1980s, death and the sacred

Quite a few calls for papers and articles here. We’ve also added two new useful links – Gothic Feminism and the journal Thinking Horror.

1. Call for articles: Deadline Extended till 15 April 2019 – Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies issue no. 18

2. Call for Papers: Edited collection Frankenstein’s Lives: Shelley’s Novel as Cultural Phenomenon. Deadline 20 May 2019

3. Manuscripts wanted for new series Critical Conversations in Horror Studies

4. CFP Buffy and the Bible, University of Sheffield, 4-5 July 2019. Deadline 18 March 2019

Part of the Gothic Bible Project, and following our inaugural Gothic Bible conference in 2017 (which you can read all about here) ‘Buffy and the Bible’ will take the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) as a case study to interrogate the relationship between religion and popular culture, and we welcome papers and posters that explore this theme in any aspect of the Buffyverse.

5. CFP symposium: The Gothic 1980s: The decade that scared us, Manchester Metropolitan University, 8 June 2019. Deadline 29 March 2019.

But why the Gothic grip on a decade many see as a time of electronic dance music, brash pop culture and new technology? ‘The Gothic 1980s: The decade that scared us’ is a symposium determined to stretch beyond the stereotypes attached to the era and invites participants to delve into the themes of what was ultimately a divisive, often dark, and certainly fascinating, decade.

6. A free panel discussion: HAUNT Manchester and Not Quite Light present: Following Hauntology: twilight streets and dark horizons, Manchester Metropolitan University, 27 March 2019

A panel discussion featuring a number of academics, artists and innovators discussing ideas and themes around Hauntology. Hauntology is a way of thinking about our world as intrinsically ghostly; one in which our present is always already ghosted by unresolved pasts and unrealised futures.

7. Death and the Sacred Symposium, 22 March 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University.

This symposium will focus on literature, arts and practice where individuals, groups, artists and writers explore a range of topics and themes deemed sacred and their interaction with death. Across all religions and cultures, death and dying has always loomed over sacred sites, texts, practises and journeys, and death has always commanded ritual and sacred attention. The theme ‘death and the sacred’, therefore, provides a fruitful topic for thinking about how the uniquely ordained, set aside, extraordinary features of particular locations and sites, bodies, practises and belief systems are influenced, reformed and repurposed by death.

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Programme and Booking for Polidori Vampyre 200

Tickets are selling rapidly for the Polidori Vampyre Symposium so do book here before it’s too late! The programme is available here and we think it’s looking fabulous–see the images below.

‘Mad, bad, and dangerous’—and hot! That’s how Lady Caroline Lamb saw the poet Byron, the lover who discarded her. And that’s the image we have of the vampire in the twenty-first century. Lamb cast Byron as the dark and duplicitous Gothic seducer, Lord Ruthven in her novel Glenarvon (1816). In turn, John Polidori, Byron’s physician, took the name Lord Ruthven in creating the first literary vampire, 200 years ago in his novella The Vampyre. Polidori’s vampire is a satirical portrait of Byron as a seducer of women in polite society. Ruthven spawned a series of demonic lovers from the Brontës and Daphne du Maurier to the more sexy incarnations of Dracula and the paranormal romances of mortal women seduced by brooding bad and dangerous vampires. At this symposium, leading scholars of the Gothic tell this story of the legacy of Polidori’s disquieting vampire.

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Polidori Vampyre 200 Booking

Booking for the symposium for the bicentenary of John Polidori’s The Vampyre is now open–click here. It’s going to be a fabulous event: have a look here for full details and here for the programme of brilliant speakers.

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RIP Michel Legrand

It was sad to hear of the death of Michel Legrand (1932-2019) on Saturday. Legrand wrote the music to countless films, many from French New Wave cinema. His music fits perfectly the stylish and witty reinterpretation of Perrault’s fairy tale ‘Donkey Skin’, Peau d’Ane (1970) directed by Legrand’s frequent collaborator Jacques Demy. Here’s a scene from the film with one of Legrand’s songs, featuring the enchanting Catherine Deneuve.

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CFPs: Myth and dream, horror, Dracula and vampires, youth horror

A few CFPs for conferences and calls for articles:

1. Myth and Dream / The Dreaming of Myth, 23-24 May 2019, University of Bologna. Deadline: 28 February 2019.

The conference invites proposals addressing diverse approaches to the combination of myth and dream – literary, artistic, scientific or theological – that enjoy attention in the contemporary world.

2. Fear 2000: Contemporary Horror Worldwide, 1-2 June 2019, Sheffield Hallam University. Deadline: 1 March 2019.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers and 80 minute panels for the fourth annual Fear 2000 conference at Sheffield Hallam University – Fear 2000: Contemporary Horror Worldwide. Hosted by staff and postgraduate students in the Department of Humanities, the conference will investigate international horror cinema in the twenty-first century.

3. Call for articles for Journal of Dracula Studies. Deadline: 1 May 2019.

We invite manuscripts of scholarly articles (4000-6000 words) on any of the following: Bram Stoker, the novel Dracula, the historical Dracula, the vampire in folklore, fiction, film, popular culture, and related topics.

4. Call for contributions to an edited collection on Critical Approaches to Youth Horror. Deadline: 17 June 2019.

We are looking for a broad base of scholarship from emerging and advanced scholars. We are open to chapters that include different types of media, but prefer chapters focused on popular youth horror film and television.


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CFPs: Vampires, Gothic feminism, zombies, youth horror, creative work

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 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.

2. Gothic Feminism 3: Technology, Women and Gothic-Horror On-Screen, 2-3 May 2019, University of Kent. Deadline: 15 February 2019.

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.

3. Call for Articles – special edition of Revenant: Revolution in the Dead: The Cultural Evolution of the Zombie. Deadline: 30 April 2019.

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.

4. Call for chapters in an edited collection: Critical Approaches to Youth Horror. Deadline: 17 June 2019

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.

5. Reimagining the Gothic 2019: Creative Competition, University of Sheffield. Deadline: 11 March 2019.

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.

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‘Polidori, the Byronic vampire & its progeny’ April 6th-7th 2019

‘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.

This symposium will trace Polidori’s bloodsucking progeny and his heritage of ‘curious disquiet’ in literature and other media. It is a return to the beginnings of the Open Graves, Open Minds Project, which began with a legendary conference on vampires in 2010 followed by an edited collection, Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day, ed. by Sam George and Bill Hughes (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013) and the first special issue of Gothic Studies devoted to vampires (May 2013).


When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake!
When move in a sweet body fit for life,
And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife
Of hearts and lips!
(John Keats, Lamia)

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. We have invited Sir Christopher Frayling, the father of vampire scholarship, to give a keynote, together with a host of very special delegates, selected for their expertise in the Byronic, the Gothic, and the vampiric. They include but are not limited to the following: 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).

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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 to regain 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).

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Merry Christmas!!

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Merry Christmas everyone from the OGOM Project!!!

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CFPs: Magical cities, coastal folklore, folk horror, folklore and the fantastic, Walpole

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 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.

2. OGOM have a particular fondness for selkies and mermaids, so this conference at at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tale and Fantasy, University of Chichester on maritime and coastal folklore looks fascinating: The Fabled Coast: Coastal and Maritime Folklore, Superstitions and Customs, 27 April 2019. Deadline: 25 January 2019

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’.

5. On the founder of the Gothic novel, there’s a conference at Horace Walpole’s Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill: Text Artefact Identity: Horace Walpole and the Queer Eighteenth Century, 15 February 2019 – 16 February 2019. No deadline visible, so best to enquire soon.

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.

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