A British Werewolf Scholar on YouTube

Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941)

As part of OGOM’s foray into the real world during Spooky Season, Dr Kaja Franck will be part of two-part Monstrum special on werewolves for PBS’ YouTube channel Storied. The first episode will be released on 21st October – following the Hunter’s Moon, and the second, on 28th October. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this fascinating insight into lycanthropes. Looking forward to your responses.

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Gothic Bodies: North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar 3 November, 2021

Join us in November for the North West Long Nineteenth-Century Seminar series, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University

This Halloween seminar will focus on Gothic bodies from the Romantic period to the early twentieth century. Three speakers will consider the resonances of the Gothic body in terms of race and gender, examining themes of monstrosity, confinement, facial transformation and masquerade.

Any queries, please contact the seminar organisers Emma Liggins and Sonja Lawrenson from Manchester Metropolitan University, on e.liggins@mmu.ac.uk or s.lawrenson@mmu.ac.uk

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) - Moria

Schedule

Date and time

Wed, 3 November 2021

16:30 – 19:00 GMT

16.30 – 17.30 Sam George (University of Hertfordshire), ‘America’s First Vampire was Black and Revolutionary: Is it time to remember ‘The Black Vampyre’?

17.30 – 17.45 break

17.45 Charlotte Chassefière (Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier), ‘Confinement and Masquerade: Charlotte Dacre’s gothic bodies (1772-1825)’

18.10 Rebecca Gibson, (University of Lancaster) ‘[T]he Corruption Implicit’: Liminal Faces and Ambiguous Moralities In Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Gothic

Abstracts and Bios

Sam George, ‘America’s First Vampire was Black and Revolutionary: Is it time to remember ‘The Black Vampyre’?

In April of 1819, the New Monthly Magazine, published ‘The Vampyre: A Tale’ by Lord Byron. Notice of its publication quickly appeared in papers in the United States. Byron was at the time enjoying remarkable popularity and this new tale, supposedly by the famous poet, caused a sensation as did its reprintings in Boston’s Atheneum (15 June) and Baltimore’s Robinson’s Magazine (26 June). By July, Byron’s denial of authorship was being reported and by August the true author was discovered, John Polidori. In the meantime, an American response, ‘The Black Vampyre: A Legend of St. Domingo’, by one Uriah Derick D’Arcy, appeared. D’Arcy explicitly parodies ‘The Vampyre’ and even suggests that Polidori’s vampiric aristocrat had his origins in the Caribbean. A later reprinting in 1845 attributed ‘The Black Vampyre’ to a Robert C. Sands; however, many believe the author was more likely to be Richard Varick Dey (1801–1837), a near anagram of the named author.

This anti-slavery narrative from the early 1800s contains America’s first vampire who is Black. It is also the first short story to advocate the emancipation of slaves, released 14 years before Lydia Child published ‘An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans’, which is widely considered to be one of the first anti-slavery books. ‘The Black Vampyre’, is also noteworthy for its idea of mixed marriage at a time when interracial love was deemed taboo.

In this paper I ask why this ground-breaking text is still relatively unknown, even in Gothic circles? It appears in none of the seminal histories of the vampire, for example. Important for being the first American vampire text, and for depicting the first Black vampire in literature; it has a contemporary resonance. The racism cultivated by slavery lives on; the struggle against it and the dreams of universal humanity expressed in the Haitian Revolution continues. I argue that the links ‘The Black Vampyre’ makes between racial oppression and a vampiric society, though ambivalent, make its resurrection worthwhile, and that the crude goriness and spookiness of Gothic vampire narratives can still have an ethical force.

Sam George is Associate Professor in Research and the Convenor of the popular Open Graves, Open Minds Project at the University of Hertfordshire. She is a writer of feature articles on literature, folklore and the Gothic in the national and international press. Her reads for The Conversation alone are 140,000. Her interviews have appeared in newspapers from The Guardian to The Independent and the Wall Street Journal. Her research interests span from women and botany to vampire studies, werewolves and dark fairies. She is the author of Botany, Sexuality and Women’s Writing (2007); In the Kingdom of Shadows; Optics, Dark Folklore and the Gothic (forthcoming 2022), and the co- editor of Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day (2012); In the Company of Wolves: Werewolves, Wolves and Wild Children (2020). She co-edited the first ever issue of Gothic Studies on ‘Vampires’ with Bill Hughes in 2013 and ‘werewolves and wildness’ followed in 2019. She is currently working on an edited collection on The Legacy of John William Polidori: The Romantic Vampire and its Progeny and researching a book on gothic fairies for Bloomsbury. You can follow her on Twitter at @DrSamGeorge1

Charlotte Chassefière, ‘Confinement and Masquerade: Charlotte Dacre’s gothic bodies (1772-1825)’

Writing from a culture that prized its women as symbols of moral property, the bearers of home and nation (Barlaskar 2020), Charlotte Dacre was (and still is) famous for her depictions of trespassing and hypersexual female characters. Concerned with issues of femininity as well as with the traditional Gothic emphasis on confined heroines, and the delimitation between ”inside” and ”outside” spaces, her four novels published between 1805 and 1811 expose the complex relationships between (anti-)heroines and their gothic bodies. This talk will be dedicated to the concepts of confinement and masquerade as developed in the novels of Charlotte Dacre, and will demonstrate the extent to which these notions can be ”harnessed” by the heroines, in order to assert their agentivity, in quite a suprising fashion when compared to other gothic texts from the time. In this presentation, I will analyse the dynamics of confinement of the heroines’ bodies—within an enclosed space, or within the traditional middle-class expectations of feminine behaviour—showing how Dacre appropriates and rewrites the sentimental motif of the blushing heroine. We shall also see how this blush (a mask among many others) can be appropriated by female characters in order to navigate their way in society, in a form of feminine masquerade that both endorses, subverts and criticises the ninteenth-century gendered double standard, and the discipline of sensibility.

Charlotte Chassefière is a PhD student in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British literature at EMMA (Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone), Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier, France), where she is also a lecturer for the English department. Her doctoral research is centred on the constructions of the self in the novels of Charlotte Dacre (1772-1825), under the supervision of Prof. Christine Reynier. Her other fields of interest include Gothic fiction, early nineteenth-century poetry, and Romantic Satanism. She is also the author of a review of Laurence Talairach’s Gothic Remains for Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens (https://journals.openedition.org/cve/8387), and of the chapter “’Reason, honour, and the usage of society’ in Charlotte Dacre’s The Libertine”, in the post-conference volume “I have a dream”: From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Non-Violence edited by Anna Hamling (LCIR).

Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier 3 (France)

EMMA – Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone

https://emma.www.univ-montp3.fr/fr/annuaire_recherche/charlotte-chassefiere

Rebecca Gibson, ‘[T]he Corruption Implicit’: Liminal Faces and Ambiguous Moralities In Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Gothic’

The late nineteenth century marks the moment when discourses of appearance-altering technologies, morality and the Gothic began to crystallise in literature. Novels from this era commonly incorporate characters whose disfigured appearances map directly onto their moral corruption or vice versa. Often the two are so tightly bound together that to separate the strands is to dissolve the characters altogether, as in the case of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, who sows the seeds of his own destruction in attempting to rid himself of the painting depicting his actual appearance. This paper will expand upon the implications of these representations and situate Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (1910) in the context of this tradition, focusing specifically on the mystery of the Phantom’s appearance, the horror of his true face, and his outsider status as a person unable to communicate with such a face. In Phantom, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and other texts I will discuss, facial transformation calls identity into question, reflecting Gothic’s response to the scientific and social turbulence of the fin-de-siècle era.

Rebecca Gibson is a Gothic researcher and academic who recently passed her viva at Lancaster University. Her thesis is titled ‘Uncanny Incisions: Plastic Surgery in the Gothic Mode’. Her research interests include body Gothic, the medical humanities, ecoGothic, gender studies, and queerness.

ATTENDING: This event is FREE but you need to book via the link to Eventbrite HERE

Looking forward to seeing you!!

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Online Talk: Dr Sam George, Dark Folklore: A Journey into the Botanical Gothic, 19 October 2021

#BotanicalGothic

Inspired by the eighteenth-century botanist Tournefort, who voyaged in search of plants and found instead a plague of vampires on the island of Mykonos (1702), Sam George’s botanical studies have taken a gothic turn. Following the publication of Botany, Sexuality and Women’s Writing (2007), and her contribution to New York Botanical Garden’s Poetic Botany she became the convenor of the Open Graves, Open Minds project. She now researches botany alongside the gothic, unearthing depictions of the vampire and the undead in literature, art, and other media, embracing werewolves (and representations of wolves and wild children), fairies, and other supernatural beings and their worlds. In this talk she presents a snapshot of the material that led to her research project coining the term ‘botanical gothic’. She explores a new darker, shadowy world of plants, found at the intersection between folklore and the gothic. As Halloween approaches, she demonstrates how our knowledge of plants is magically transformed when viewed through this lens of dark folklore. Did you know for example, that the seed heads of Snapdragons resemble tiny skulls, that Bluebells are a dangerous and potent fairy flower (the Scottish name for the plant is ‘Dead Men’s Bells’); that Hawthorne is the favoured wood for staking vampires? A surprisingly dark history of plants will be uncovered via this special Halloween journey into the botanical gothic.

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Dr Sam George, Dark Folklore: A journey into the Botanical Gothic, 19 October 2021. This is an online event. Ticket holders will be emailed links on the day of the event. The interview, pre-recorded to ensure quality, will premier on YouTube at 7pm but will be available to watch for those with the link afterwards. Please note the Zoom Q&A is live and will not be recorded.

Tickets £6

#BotanicalGothic @DrSamGeorge1

If you do not receive joining details by midday (UK time) on the day of the event, please email info@chawtonhouse.org with your order number.

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Cats’ Protection: Transylvania Trek

Lynx in Romania

TEAMWORK MAKES THE SCREAM WORK ON THE TRANSYLVANIAN TREK!

Cats Protection is looking for intrepid fundraisers to challenge themselves and raise money for cats on a thrilling new fundraising event next September. The Transylvanian Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime, six-day walk through Romania, including a climb across the Transylvanian alps and a stop at Count Dracula’s famous abode Castle Bran!

Participants will take in small mountain villages where they will stay in local guesthouses to soak up the rich cultural atmosphere while tackling the rugged wilderness and the region’s impressive mountain ranges – which are 2,200 metres above sea level.

There will also be a visit to King’s Rock National Park, home to the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project which shelters wolves, lynx and bears. In addition, there will be an optional one-day extension to the Putna-Vrancea Natural Park to meet biologists and wildlife experts who are seeking to protect the ecology of the lynx species.

The charity is looking for people to join this challenging adventure which takes place on 6-11 September 2022.  The registration fee is £250 and there’s a minimum sponsorship pledge of £2,975 which would cover the funding of a new cat pen.  

With trekking of up to eight hours per day, participants will need to be fit and healthy and ideally have undertaken some training. 

This trip is being organised for Cats Protection by Charity Challenge (ATOL 6546). Cats Protection is acting as an agent for Charity Challenge. To sign up to this event or to find out more, visit https://www.cats.org.uk/transylvania, call 01825 741 960 or email events@cats.org.uk

Cats Protection doesn’t just care for homeless or abused cats, it provides education for cat owners, helps with treatment/neutering, campaigns for change on behalf of cats and even provides services for bereaved cat owners and those fleeing unsafe homes. It is estimated we help on average 200,000 cats and kittens a year, and in the past 18 months we’ve still managed to rehome over 20,000 homeless cats during the pandemic thanks to our Hands Free Homing service. 

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CFPs: Fantasy, Irish literature, religion, the occult, Islam, horror, Shelley, the Inklings

CFPs for some exciting conferences ahead.

1. Once and Future  Fantasies conference, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic (CFF) at the University of Glasgow, 13 –17 July 2022. Deadline: 22 October 2021 

We therefore ask how fantasy and the fantastic engage with past global traditions whilst seeking and constructing new myths capable of taking account of the strange days we are living through. The conference also seeks to address the past(s), present and future(s) of fantasy and the fantastic as modes of artistic expression and creativity. 

2. ‘Caliban’s Mirror’: The 2022 Wilde and Joyce Symposium, 5-6 May 2022, Trinity College Dublin. Deadline: 15 October 2021

Never before has there been an academic conference on the relationship between these two Irish writers. Perhaps even more startling to those familiar with ‘the Joyce industry’ will be the knowledge that there has never been an edited collection of essays on Joyce and Wilde. [. . .] It is our intention to publish a selection of papers from this symposium in order to fill this obvious gap.
The 2022 Wilde and Joyce Symposium welcomes papers that bring these two Irish writers together in innovative ways.

3. Religion, Spiritualism and Occultism in Irish Literature from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, on line, 7 to 8 January 2022. Deadline: 7 November 2021

This conference seeks to explore the intricate patchwork of spiritual and religious practices, occult and esoteric beliefs, and spiritualist endeavours found in Irish literature from the nineteenth century and up to the present.

4. Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GIFCon) 2022: Fantasy Across Media, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow, online, 27-29 April 2022. Deadline: 3 December 2021

GIFCon 2022 is a three-day virtual conference that seeks to examine the myriad narrative possibilities afforded by fantasy across media. 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. 

5. The Inklings and Horror: Fantasy’s Dark Corners, The Mythopoeic Society, on line, 4-5 February 2022. Deadline: 15 November 2021

The Mythopoeic Society invites paper submissions for an online conference that focuses on the connections between and among Inkling authors and the literary tropes of the horror sub-genre of speculative fiction, to be held through Zoom and Discord February 4-5, 2022. 

6. Islamic Perspectives on Exotheology, Virginia Commonwealth University, on line, 10-11 May 2022. Deadline: 31 December 2021

With increasing interest and attention given toextraterrestrial life in contemporary developments and discourses, Islamic perspectives onexotheology have become a niche area that require due attention. This conference aims to fillthis gap by inviting scholars from all over the world and from different backgrounds to helpmake sense of this relatively unexplored territory. We believe this exploration will elevateIslamic discourses that are directly engaging with contemporary questions

7. Shelley200: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Final Years and Afterlives, The Nightingale Room at Keats House, Hampstead, London, 8-9 July 2022. Deadline: 7 February 2022

The Shelley Conference will celebrate the achievements of a major Romantic poet, but also his various afterlives. We invite papers on Shelley’s last two years in Italy (his work, thought, life, friendships, and reading), but also on matters of Shelleyan reception: Shelley editing, and networks of influence, including the political, the musical, and the visual.

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Crawling Horror: Creeping Tales of the Insect Weird

Daisy Butcher, a member of OGOM and PhD student of Dr Sam George, has collaborated with friend of OGOM and University of Hertfordshire alumna, Janette Leaf to put together an exciting anthology of insect themed stories for the British Library’s well-known ‘Tales of the Weird’ series. The creation of this book is indebted to the Open Graves, Open Minds Project as Daisy and Janette met at their Company of Wolves conference in 2015 and then had the idea to work together on an insect collection at their Polidori Symposium in 2019. With Daisy’s experience putting together a previous collection on killer plants called Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic (British Library, 2018) and Janette’s expertise in Insect Gothic, they have thoroughly enjoyed working together throughout lockdown. The anthology encompasses many genres and writers from Victorian Gothic to science-fiction on the subject of insects. Their overlapping interest in Egyptian Gothic and mummy curse tales from their PhD research proved fruitful for the collection as there are four Egyptian themed insect stories in the book. As well as bringing these stories they knew from their PhD research, Daisy and Janette both trawled through archives of old Victorian literary magazines and pulp science-fiction to find lesser-known authors and tales. Daisy and Janette co-authored the introduction and headnotes for the collection, touching on what the ‘Insect Weird’ means to them, where the irrational fear of insects comes from, biographical information about the authors, and the key themes throughout. In line with the Open Graves, Open Minds ethos, they were also keen to feature positive examples of literary insects. While they wanted to allow people to get a good scare off these creepy crawlies, indulging their entomophobic tendencies in a safe space, they also wanted to make people aware of this unfair prejudice against insects. In this collection, some insects aren’t as monstrous as they appear, some do the bidding of others, some are only doing what is natural for an animal to do, some give gifts, and some even save lives.

You can catch Daisy and Janette talking about the book at various events this Halloween including:

Here are more details of the book and how to order it on the British Library page:
https://shop.bl.uk/products/crawling-horror-creeping-tales-of-the-insect-weird

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CFPs: Fairy tales and fantasy, The Neverending Story, theology, vampires, Asian Gothic, women and Satanism

Quite a few calls here for journal articles and chapters in edited collections.

1. CFP: Fairy Tales and Fantasy Fiction / Contes de fées et Fantasy, Fantasy Art and Studies journal. Deadline: 25 October 2021 (in French or English)

For its 12th issue, the journal Fantasy Art and Studies invites researchers to submit papers on the relationship between Fantasy and fairy tales. Topics may include:

the place of the fairy tale in the development and theorisation of Fantasy,
rewritings of fairy tales in Fantasy,
Fairy-tale Fantasy and women’s and/or feminist writing

2. Call for Papers (Edited Collection): Teaching with Fairy Tales. Deadline: 15 October 2021

Teaching with Fairy Tales is a collection of essays that discuss the many ways to use fairy tales and folklore in classrooms at all levels. We are soliciting contributions of chapters focusing on classroom uses for fairy tales and/or folklore in any field. While lessons for any level of education are welcome, activities that can be adapted to more than one age group are preferred. 

3. Mapping the Impossible: Journal for Fantasy Research. Open for submissions for second issue, to be published in March 2022

Mapping the Impossible is an open-access student journal publishing peer-reviewed research into fantasy and the fantastic.
We welcome submissions from undergraduate and postgraduate students (and from those who have graduated within the last year) from any higher education institution. We publish articles on any aspect of fantasy and the fantastic and any work within this transmedial genre. Increasingly, students from more established disciplines (including, but not limited to, Literature Studies, Game Studies, Film and Television Studies, Media Studies, Philosophy and Theology) elect to write essays on a fantasy related topic that intersects with their primary discipline

4. Many Doors to Fantastica: The Neverending Story & the Education of the Imagination. Deadline: 3 October 2021

The multifaceted framework of Ende’s story helps to shape the interdisciplinary approach of this collection. The lines between reality and fiction, between characters, and between purposes are all blurred in such a way that there is much to mine from the stores rich layers. This volume hopes to do the same by investigating the text from a variety of viewpoints, as well as offering pedagogical approaches for the classroom. It also seeks to highlight the various media representations of Ende’s story, including the films and cartoon adaptations.

5. Call for Papers: Theology and Vampires (edited collection). Deadline: 1 November 2021

Given the richness of theological substratum in vampire fiction, we invite submissions for a collected volume entitled Theology and Vampires, for the Theology and Pop Culture Series published by Lexington Books/Fortress Academic. The aim of this volume is to explore the theology of vampires, with a particular focus on the pop culture aspect of vampire narratives. We are seeking essays exploring the theological implications of the vampire across a wide range of media, from popular Victorian tales through to films, video games, and animated series.

6. Religion and Victorian Popular Literature and Culture, a special issue of Victorian Popular Fictions Journal (Autumn 2023). Deadline: 1 November 2021

This special issue will explore manifestations of religion and the expression and representation of religious experience in popular culture texts of all kinds. [. . .] We welcome proposals that focus on popular narrative in all its forms arising from the long nineteenth century, and particularly encourage research that examines noncanonical and neglected poets, dramatists, novelists, journalists, journals, publishers, artists, critics and readers. We would be particularly interested in research concerning religious practices and experiences outside of Christian traditions

7. CFP: Asian Gothic special issue, The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture. Deadline: 15 October 2021

We seek essays of 6000-10000 words that would broaden our understanding of the Gothic in Asia. Rather than considering the Gothic as a fixed western-centric genre or a rigidly defined aesthetical category, we propose to address it as a larger umbrella term: a conceptual framework through which distinctive local cultural practices, historical formulations, national and regional traumas, anxieties, collective violent histories and diverse belief systems are expressed. Whether understood as a localised version of international Gothic or part of a larger category of “globalgothic”, Asian Gothic can thus be read as a distinctive aesthetical and narrative practice, where conventional gothic tropes and imagery (monsters, ghosts, haunting, obscurity, darkness, madness etc.) are assessed anew, and where global forms get consumed, appropriated, translated, transformed, and, even, resisted.

8. Call for Papers: Edited Collection on Satanism and Feminism in Popular Culture. Deadline: 31 October 2021

We invite proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers on the intersection of Satanism and Feminism in twentieth- and twenty-first-century popular culture. 

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Events: Crawling Horrors, Gothic Revolutions

Two exciting events coming up soon.

1. The first is from OGOM’s own Daisy Butcher, in collaboration with Janette Leaf. They are promoting their new book, Crawling Horrors, and this is one of several events–more news to come. The book is an anthology of Gothic/horror insect tales and is part of the fabulous series from the British Library, Tales of the Weird.

In Conversation with Daisy Butcher and Janette Leaf, 29 October 2021, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM, Books on the Hill, St Albans, UK

A moth wreaks a strange vengeance on an entomologist. Bees deliver a supernatural dilemma to a mother-to-be. This new anthology offers a broad range of stories from the long history of insect literature, where six-legged beasts play many roles from lethal enemies to ethereal messengers.

With expert notes on how each tale contributed to insect horror literature, Janette Leaf and Daisy Butcher are your field guides for a tour through classic insect encounters from the minds of Edgar Allan Poe, E. F. Benson, Clare Winger Harris and many more.

2. Gothic Revolutions (by The Gothic Women Project): An online seminar exploring the Gothic’s responses to revolutions in the Romantic period, with Dr Maisha Wester, 27 September 2021, 17:00–20:00 BST, online

Speakers:

Dr Maisha Wester (University of Sheffield), ‘Black Jacobins or Bloody Barbarians: the Haitian Revolution’s Gothic Impact’

Dr Christina Morin (University of Limerick), ‘Horrible tumults in Ireland’: Reading Rebellion in Irish Female Gothic

Dr Lauren Nixon (Nottingham Trent University), ‘A soldier for me’?: Framing British masculinity and nationality in women’s Gothic writing during the Revolutionary Wars

For our September event, the Gothic Women Project invites you to a seminar exploring how the Gothic responds to the realities and ideologies of revolution in the broader Romantic period. ‘Gothic Revolutions’ will explore how the work of women writers in particular intersects with revolutionary movements and moments across the globe. With papers exploring responses to the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, and rebellion in Ireland, we welcome discussion of how we can interpret the revolutions and upheavals of our own era by looking back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

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A Gothic Cookbook: Celebrating food and drink across the best of the genre

Guest post by Ella Buchan, the Cookbook’s co-author

Ella Buchan and Alesasandro Pino, A Gothic Cookbook, illustrated by Lee Henry

Has devouring Dracula ever made you hungry? Perhaps Daphne du Maurier’s descriptions of revoltingly lavish afternoon teas in Rebecca have you craving crumpets, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein causes you to ponder the ethics of eating meat.

Perhaps not. Yet food writing, and the use of edible imagery, is abundant in Gothic literature, which is what A Gothic Cookbook is all about. I’m a food journalist and my co-author Alessandra Pino is a PhD candidate at Westminster, researching food and anxiety with roots in Gothic literature. The idea for the cookbook came about when we realised there wasn’t really anything quite like it: bringing together a diverse range of classic and contemporary stories, studying their edible symbolism and motifs, and then bringing those to life with recipes and illustrations.

Each of 13 chapters focuses on an individual novel, novella or short story, with an essay discussing the author’s use of food and drink followed by around half a dozen recipes inspired by the text. The cookbook is illustrated throughout with original hand-drawings by our artist, Lee Henry.

In stories from Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, food propels the plot, tightens the suspense, contrasts comfort with terror, or portends doom.

Afternoon tea at Manderley

Our chapter on Rebecca (which we’ve made available to read online here) examines how food reinforces social status and stigma, is used to make the narrator squirm and, in the case of some bitter tangerine segments, signals a sharp warning. This chapter has recipes for ravioli, a tangerine sour cocktail, and the entire afternoon tea spread served daily, at “half past four”, at Manderley.

Chicken Paprikash from Dracula

Dracula inspires a Paprika Hendl recipe as eaten by Jonathan Harker (“get recipe for Mina”), Toni Morrison’s Beloved is all about a ghost’s hunger for “sweet things”, while The Haunting of Hill House has peach shortcakes, paranormal picnic spreads, and spatchcock chicken with radish-top pesto (based on “a bird, and radishes from the garden”).

The Bloody Chamber

Other chapters are dedicated to Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, where food and feasts reflect cruelty, gluttony and a craving for comfort, and edible offerings and witchcraft in Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby.

A Gothic Cookbook is signed with crowdfunding publishers Unbound, which means we need to raise the initial costs before it goes into production. You can help bring it to publication by pledging for a copy of the book, artwork and other merchandise from cocktail booklets to dinner party kits, here: https://unbound.com/books/a-gothic-cookbook/

You can also use the code REBECCA10 for 10% off pledges until the end of August, to celebrate the month Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel was published.

Follow updates on Twitter and Instagram at @AGothicCookbook

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The Cottingley Fairies: A Study in Deception, Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Leeds, 18 June 2021-17 November 2022

We’ve been eagerly anticipating this exhibition for a while! The Cottingley Fairies: A Study in Deception, Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Leeds, 18 June 2021-17 November 2022.

It is curated by Dr Merrick Burrow, who gave a fascinating plenary on the topic at OGOM’s recent Ill Met by Moonlight Gothic Fairies conference. Dr Sam George, too, has long been interested in the topic and her own research and her conference plenary draws on the story. The exhibition website says:

Just over one hundred years ago Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the Cottingley fairies photographs in “The Strand Magazine”.

But how did the literary genius behind the detective mastermind Sherlock Holmes get fooled by fake fairies?

Now, you can discover the secrets behind the greatest hoax of the twentieth century in person or online!

Visit the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery to explore items from the University of Leeds Special Collections, which holds nearly all of the most important documents and artefacts relating to the Cottingley fairies. 

There are images from the exhibition here.

This article by Henry Irving, ‘Photographing Fairies’, describes Dr Alice Sage’s (of Goldsmiths, University of London) winning Pamela Cox Public History Prize project. Dr Sage says:

This exhibition and engagement project was inspired by the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Cottingley Fairy Photographs in December 1920. This infamous hoax by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths produced the original viral selfies — photos of fairies which convinced many people, including Arthur Conan Doyle, of the existence of supernatural life, but also sparked fierce debate about the agency and ability of girls.

I mention the Cottingley photos in my PhD thesis — Fairies, Fathers and Fantasies of Childhood in London 1915–30 — but felt there was potential to create a public history project around them; so I developed an exhibition proposal as a placement funded by CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.

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