The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper (22nd Feb 17.00 Free online event )

A quick post to draw your attention to the following free online event at the university. Hope to see some of you there. 

The School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire’s Creative Conversations continues with a special guest, historian and author Hallie Rubenhold on 22 February 17:00-18:00 via Zoom. Hallie will talk about her award-winning non-fiction book The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper . The Five has featured in The New York Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, GQ, The Washington Post, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine and many more. For more information see the Press Release.

All welcome.

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 947 7604 0333

Passcode: 504748

Contact: Andrew Maunder, Reader in Victorian Literature (Email: a.c.

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Gothic Fairies conference – new plenaries

We are beyond excited to announce that we have two more very special plenary speakers for OGOM’s online Gothic Fairies conference, ‘Ill met by moonlight’: Gothic encounters with enchantment and the Faerie realm in literature and culture, on 8-11 April 2021.

Fairies Looking through a Gothic arch.

Our current line up includes:

Prof. Owen Davies (President of The Folklore Society, University of Hertfordshire), ‘Print Grimoires, Spirit Conjuration, and the Democratisation of Learned Magic’

Dr Sam George (Associate Professor of Research, University of Hertfordshire), ‘Fairy Lepidoptera: the Dark History of Butterfly-Winged Fae’

Prof. Diane Purkiss (Keble College, Oxford), ‘Where Do Fairies Come From? Shifts in Shape’

Prof. Catherine Spooner (Lancaster University), ‘Glamourie: Fairies and Fashion’

Prof. Dale Townshend (Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘“The fairy kind of writing”:  Gothic and the Aesthetics of Enchantment in the Long Eighteenth Century’

And we have just added Dr Maisha Wester (Indiana University; Global Professorship Fellowship, University of Sheffield) who will be speaking on ‘Precious Revisions of Greedy Glass Bottle Tricks: Nalo Hopkinson’s Folkloric Revisions of Classic Fairytales and Myths’.

And Dr Merrick Burrows (Head of English & Creative Writing, University of Huddersfield) who is the curator of forthcoming Cottingley Fairies Centenary Exhibition. December 2020 marked the centenary of the publication by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the infamous Cottingley Fairies photographs in the ‘Strand Magazine’. You can read about the exhibition below:

Dr Burrows will speak on ‘The Cottingley Fairies: Conan Doyle’s War on Materialism’.

I don’t think this fairy conference could get any more magical! Look out for registration and the full programme coming soon ooh!

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Events: Mary Shelley, Octavia Butler, Gothic ocean, Byron, Polidori

Despite the pandemic isolation, scholars in Gothic and allied fields are finding creative ways to keep literary and cultural dialogue flourishing with on-line events. here are a few we’ve noticed:

1. BARS Digital Event: ‘The Late Mary Shelley’, 18 February 2021

The British Association for Romantic Studies is delighted to welcome you to the fifth session of our Digital Events series: ‘The Late Mary Shelley’. Please join us on Thursday 18 February at 5pm GMT on Zoom for a roundtable discussion between Dr Antonella Braida, Kathleen Hurlock, Professor Michael Rossington, Professor Angela Wright, and Carly Yingst, chaired by Dr Amanda Blake Davis. During the session, our guests will belatedly mark the anniversary of Mary Shelley’s death on February 1st by discussing her later life, works, and legacy, celebrating Shelley’s many achievements beyond and after Frankenstein. After this, the audience will be invited to take part in a moderated Q&A session. 

2. The Octavia E. Butler Literary Society and the St. Catherine University Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women Present:
The Confluence: Octavia E. Butler At the Intersection of Cultural Critique and Climate Collapse, 6-7 March 2021

A confluence is the place where two rivers meet. It is a place of not only great energy but great power and creativity. Located at one of the great confluences,  the Twin Cities occupy this place called Bdote – “where two waters come together” – that is sacred to the Dakota people. The Octavia E. Butler Literary Society invites you to join us virtually at this sacred place of power and creativity for the third biennial conference where we will feature work honoring Butler. Our host is St. Catherine University in St. Paul MN.

3. Returning to the Gothic Ocean: Maritime, Marine and Aquatic Uncanny in Southern Waters, 12 February 2021

Returning to the Gothic Ocean is a one day interdisciplinary virtual symposium dedicated to an exploration of the haunted waters stretching around and across Australia, the oceans, seas and inland waterways. The symposium title is inspired by Elspeth Probyn’s (2018) ominous description of the otherness and toxic “return” of the “mercurial” ocean, as well as the fluid regional geographies of “Australia” that stream into the realms of Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Asia-Pacific, and Indo-Pacific.

4. Finally, The Byron Society has a series of online talks on all aspects of Byron and his circle, including Mary Shelley and John POlidori.

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Calls for submissions: Fairy tale and fantasy, Angela Carter and Barthes, sex and Supernatural

We have various calls for articles, creative writing, and reviews coming up:

1. Call for Submissions: Articles, creative writing, reviews and visual art relating to fairy tales, fantasy and speculative fiction, Gramarye.
Deadline: 21 March 2021

The Chichester Centre for Fairy Tales, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction seeks articles, book reviews and creative writing relating to literary and historical approaches to fairy tales, fantasy, Gothic, magic realism, science fiction and speculative fiction for Gramarye, its peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Chichester.

2. Call for Papers: Special issue on Angela Carter and Roland Barthes, Barthes Studies.
Deadline: 30 June 2021

As recent forays into Carter’s interest in translation and her engagement with French feminist theory uncover ever more areas of exploration, researchers have yet to fully highlight the ways in which her works, both fictional and essayistic, respond to the texts of Roland Barthes. We welcome contributions on the intertextual connections between Carter and Barthes

3. Call for Chapters: Sex and Supernatural, edited volume.
Deadline: 1 March 2021

As the long-running series Supernatural (2005-2020) comes to a close, fans and scholars can finally consider the text as a closed canon that offers new possibilities for analysis. While previous volumes from throughout its run have examined the series through the lenses of genre, theology, and philosophy, this collection will analyze the show through the thus-far underused lenses of fan, gender, sexuality, and porn studies. Supernatural’s use and interpretations of sexualities, queerness, consumption of pornography and human bodies (sometimes literally) speaks to both horror tropes and to cultural anxieties. The longevity of the show also allows it to act as a litmus test for changing mores in sex and gender representation. The goal of this edited volume will be to analyze these topics across the breadth of the show and its related texts, including licensed novels and comics and fan fiction and meta.

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CFPs: Dark Economies, Lovecraft Country, Zombies

Some excitng CFPs for conferences here–the deadline for ‘Dark Econimies’ is very soon, so hurry!

1. ‘Dark Economies: Anxious Futures, Fearful Pasts‘, Falmouth University, UK, 7-9 July 2021. A face-to-face conference!
Deadline: 1 February 2021.

The present is dark. With the rise of Covid-19, right-wing populism, global migrations and immigrations, continued violence, abuse and crime, prejudice and intolerance, there is increasing anxiety about the future. The Earth itself is under threat from environmental catastrophe and a mass extinction event is anticipated. The collapse of society, morality, and the environment was often also feared in the past, particularly in Gothic, horror and dystopian fictions and texts. What were the monsters of the past? What are our monsters now?

2. ‘Cults, Cthulus, and Klansmen: The (Hi)stories within Lovecraft Country‘, Centre for the History of the Gothic at the University of Sheffield, 20 May 2021. On line.
Deadline: 15 March 2021

This online symposium, hosted by the Centre for the History of the Gothic at the University of Sheffield, seeks to unpack the history, theory, and sociopolitical commentary neatly woven into the series Lovecraft Country. Remaining mindful of the show as a Horror series, this symposium will evaluate Green’s manipulations of Gothic and Horror tropes in conveying a powerful and complex critique of contemporary America.

3. ‘Theorizing Zombiism 2 Conference: Undead Again‘, University of Gothenburg, 29-31 July 2021. On line.
Deadline: 10 March 2021

The zombie as an allegory for cultural, social, and scientific analysis spans almost every discipline including humanities, biology, mathematics, anthropology, economics, and political science. This range of use for the zombie narrative is a clear indication of its adaptability and viability as a distinct framework for critical theory. Theorizing Zombiism 2: Undead again will thus serve as a timely and much-needed platform for the development of international and interdisciplinary relationships between researchers, educators, practitioners and other interested parties.

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Virginia Woolf, ‘A Haunted House’

Virginia Woolf’s (whose birthday is today) short story ‘A Haunted House’ is a superb modernist reworking of the classic Gothic haunted house tale. In its tenderness, it might be a fine example of what Catherine Spooner calls ‘happy Gothic’.

A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf

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Burns Night: Tam O ‘Shanter

As it’s Burns Night, here’s a link to Robert Burns’s delightfully Gothic poem Tam O ‘Shanter (1791), in which, after a heavy bout of drinking, Tam narrowly escapes the clutches of a horde of witches.

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CFP: Corporeal Creations: Bodily Figurations of Creativity, online workshop, 24 March 2021

Zoom symposium, the Department of English, Tübingen University

From John Gower’s account of Robert Grosseteste’s construction of a talking head to George Herbert’s depiction of the heart as a place for divine encounters; from Ben Jonson’s pride in his literary offspring to Victor Frankenstein’s horrified reaction to the physical reality of his own creation, creativity has long been thought of in bodily terms. Imagery centred on the human body – and, frequently, on its procreative propensities – serves to configure the relationship between creator and creation or to describe interpersonal exchange and mutual dependence; bodily metaphors are useful both in celebrating human achievements and castigating Promethean pride and solipsistic self-involvement.

Our workshop aims at collecting and discussing medieval and post-medieval examples of creative metaphors which draw on the corporeal and to consider their communicative functions and ideological implications. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop will be held virtually on Zoom.

We invite abstracts from all researchers interested in conceptualisations of human creativity and/or ability, especially – but not exclusively – as they relate to (notions of) the corporeal.


For more information, please contact

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CoronaGothic: Cultures of the Pandemic

‘CoronaGothic’, Critical Quarterly 62.4 (2020), ed. by Prof William Hughes and Prof Nick Groom from the University of Macau, arrived in this morning’s post. Thank you to all who contributed to this ground-breaking discussion from a symposium organised by @UMGothic and featuring many leading scholars including Roger Luckhurst and David Punter. You can access the issue via Wiley online at the link above.

I was lucky enough to get an invite to speak and my paper ‘Amabie goes viral: the monstrous mercreature returns to battle the Gothic Covid‐19′ is available on free access

If you missed the event you can view the full symposium programme here and there is an excellent review of the days proceedings from scholar and attendee Dr Joan Passey. @UmGothic’s next free online symposium is on ‘The Future of the Gothic’ on Friday, 26 February 2021

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Online Educational Packs for Sixth-formers: Redeeming the Wolf, Understanding Otherness

OGOM are pleased to announce the publication on line of our Educational Packs. If you teach Literature (or related subjects)to sixth-formers or A Level students (or their equivalent internationally), please take a look by following the links below. We really welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement!

The packs are developed as a taster session to show sixth-formers what it is like to study literature at university. Our aim is to demonstrate that literature is a living subject that feeds into current concerns such as extinction and rewilding, otherness and prejudice, and so on. Students also gain an insight into how different literary forms and genres work, focusing on the Gothic.

Our ‘Redeeeming the Wolf’ educational pack was developed through intensive live use in several sixth-form schools and colleges before being made available on line. The original pack has been used by 16 sixth forms to date, in workshops facilitated by Dr Sam George and Dr Kaja Franck. Dr Sam George is Associate Professor of Research at the University of Hertfordshire. She specialises in the Gothic and in Literature and Folklore, including the representation of wolf children. Dr Kaja Franck is a Visiting Lecturer and Gothic scholar who holds a doctorate in the representation of the literary werewolf.

The session is comprised of a mini-workshop, two mini-lectures, and a seminar, with interactive tasks, to demonstrate how the teaching of literature is delivered in universities. Three short stories are provided to be read by students. These stories have been researched and chosen carefully to show three different representations of the wolf and the stereotypes that have emerged so that these can be challenged in the twenty-first century.

Dr George is joined for the second pack, ‘Understanding Otherness’, by Dr Bill Hughes, whose research is centred on the interplay of genres in Paranormal Romance. The session is comprised of a mini-workshop, a lecture, and a seminar, with interactive tasks. Various fictional and poetic texts (or extracts from texts) are provided to be read by students. These have been researched and chosen carefully to show the Gothic mode in literature can foster creative discussion about difference and intolerance in society. There is an emphasis on literature and folklore too and the pack explores how the Selkie (seal maiden) can be used to facilitate discussions around otherness and animal/human boundaries.

Both packs are now available online here for the first time so that tutors can hold their own sessions. The ‘Redeeming the Wolf’ session lasts about 1 hour 30 minutes. The running time for ‘Understanding Otherness’ is 3 hours and 30 minutes; it could best be carried out over three days.

The packs have been put on line as password-protected subsections of the OGOM website so that other institutions both nationwide and internationally can be encouraged to make use of them. To access the packs, you must first log in or join us as a member if you are not yet registered.

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