Matt Foley, Lecturer at the University of Stirling, has given a thoughtful and positive review of the Open Graves, Open Minds book for Gothic Imagination:
Under the stewardship of Dr Sam George and Dr Bill Hughes, The Open Graves, Open Minds research project at the University of Hertfordshire has proved to be a rich and rewarding enterprise that – during its five-years of investigation – has facilitated a range of scholars to read productively many of the myriad transmutations of the vampire and the werewolf, both historically and in contemporary fictions. Two years after its initial publication, however, there is a surprising lack of critical appreciation of one of the project’s central research outputs so far: the Manchester UP collection Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present (2013). Certainly, this is an oversight in Gothic studies, and George and Hughes’ collection is an important addition to any scholarly Gothic reading list or, indeed, any module that reads the all-pervasive figure of the vampire. There is much to admire in the essays collected here. To name only a few of its key central concerns, the volume contains important scholarship on Lord Byron and John Polidori, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Irish Gothic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, and the complex identity politics that underpin just why, at least in contemporary fictions, society is shown to absorb vampiric groups into the mainstream. Both early-career and established researchers contribute to the book – there is a closing-piece, too, by YA author Marcus Sedgwick – and the study proves rich and varied in its conceptualisations of perhaps the most ubiquitous of Gothic figures.