Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale



In this post, Sheffield Gothic's Hannah Moss reviews Hulu's recent series, The Handmaid's Tale. To explore the Gothic origin's of the show's source material, check out Hannah's previous discussion of Atwood's novel here.

You only have to turn on the TV or flick through a magazine to see that The Handmaid’s Tale is a hot topic right now. Reviewers have been praising the 10-part adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel for capturing the zeitgeist, commenting that its release could not have been timelier. As a woman stripped of her rights and treated as property of the state, the figure of the Handmaid has gained particular significance in Trump’s America. A recent protest against the GOP healthcare bill, which seeks to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, saw 30 women dressed as Handmaids march on Capitol Hill. Red-cloaked women are now becoming a familiar sight at protests against inequality, slut shaming and the limitation of reproductive rights, but the truth is that Atwood’s dystopian tale is timeless and these are issues that were prevalent before the novel was published and remain so now. If the TV series has helped to raise the political awareness of its audience, then it can be judged as a resounding success for this alone - but how does it measure up against the book?


In the UK The Handmaid’s Tale has filled the Sunday evening slot where Channel 4 so often place hard-hitting US shows as an antidote to the nostalgic period dramas favoured by rival broadcasters. Watching The Handmaid’s Tale is by no means a relaxing way to end the weekend, and for that very reason I would find myself tuning into Poldark, avoiding the Twitter commentary and waiting until Monday lunchtime to catch up with the latest instalment from Gilead. If you’ve not seen it yet, this is not a series to binge watch over a couple of sittings. As gripping as it may be, The Handmaid’s Tale is far too intense for that! Rich in symbolism and produced with the attention to detail of a true perfectionist, each episode requires your undivided attention in order to fully process the nightmare unfolding before your eyes. The series is a dark and dystopian assault upon the senses.

The first thing that strikes the viewer is the visually arresting cinematography. From the colour contrast of blood red against clinical white to the choreographed movement of the cloaked figures, it is very clear that beauty and horror co-exist here. Even Serena Joy and Commander Waterford gain youth and glamour their characters distinctly lack in the novel. As played by Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes, they are presented as a power couple being driven apart by infertility, infidelity and the reality of living by the religious and political ideals that they fought so hard to implement. Somewhat ironically, Serena was once a successful writer whose works promoted the Gileadean family values that have since seen her excluded from the corridors of power and confined to the domestic sphere. It sounds frivolous to mention that at one point I found myself admiring the cut of one of her chic dresses before some instance of horrific brutality snapped me back out my reverie. However, the costume designers want you to notice these things – after all, appearances matter in the branding of Gilead! Everyone has their place, and punishment for even minor transgressions involves mutilation so that the perpetrator must wear their shame. Eyes, arms and feet are fair game as long as such ‘damaged’ Handmaids are kept well out of sight from the Mexican trade delegation and their reproductive capacity remains unharmed.


Although Gilead can be an eerily silent place, music is still used to heighten the tension. The sometimes jarring, yet always brilliant transition from the foreboding score to the ‘echoes from the past’ in Offred’s head includes loud blasts of Simple Minds, Nina Simone and Blondie designed to shock the viewer into the realisation of how much life has changed. The use of Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me at the end of episode 1 is so apt that it sends tingles down your spine. The haunting combination of audio and visual stays with you long after the credits roll. 

So often viewers can be left feeling infuriated when a literary favourite is adapted from page to screen, but I was definitely not disappointed with Bruce Miller’s highly anticipated reimagining of Atwood’s 1985 novel - praise be! In many ways the series is a how to lesson in adaptation. Miller sticks to the source text whilst at the same time updating ideas and developing certain characters further. For example, Ofglen’s story of so called ‘gender treachery’ makes a heart-breaking addition. Caught having a same-sex affair with one of the Martha’s in her household, Ofglen is forced to watch as her lover is executed before she is herself forced to undergo a clitoridectomy in an attempt by the state to control her sexuality. Death is not an option for her whilst she still has viable ovaries. Such departures from the source text mean that the mounting tension is maintained for those of us who have read the book numerous times before. Given the dystopian setting, it is suitably unsettling when you are never quite sure if the narrative will take an unexpected turn.


With Margaret Atwood on board with the project the series could never stray too far, but some changes haven’t been as well thought through as others. Whilst it is refreshing to watch a series with a racially diverse cast, it is perhaps surprising that a regime so grounded in far-right ideology would accept women of colour as Handmaids without comment. Furthermore, Elisabeth Moss’ voiceover monologue does at first sound like the woman readers feel like they know so well from the stream of consciousness narrative of Atwood’s novel, but this Offred is different. For the want of a better word, Offred is as content as she can be with Nick and becomes lazy and self-absorbed – she doesn’t want to resist, she wants to stay safe. However, the TV series turns her into a heroine with added sass. She scratches out the reply ‘you are not alone’ in response to the battle cry ‘Nolite te bastardes carborundorum’, defiantly refuses to stone Janine to death, and feels let down by Moira’s resignation to life as a sex worker at Jezebel’s. What’s more, with her knowledge that Luke and her daughter have survived, hope of a family reunion is provided thus making this more a story about escape and over-coming adversity rather than about the ease with which human rights can be violated and the frighteningly fast pace at which normalization occurs following a regime change: ‘in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it’ is a line that will never lose its poignancy. 

One of the most moving moments of the series comes when Offred opens the package she has received from Mayday via Moira, who is anxious that it could contain a bomb or even anthrax. What it actually contains are the written testimonies of hundreds of Handmaids, describing the horror of being routinely raped and forcedly separated from their children. This serves as a potent reminder that Offred’s voice is one of many. In the shift from novel to television, the power of the written word is not lost. What is lost, however, is the ambiguity which is central to the experience of reading Atwood’s text. We, as readers, don’t know people’s real names, their backstories, or what really happens to Offred once she is taken away in the black van. Even though it can be assumed that Nick has arranged for her to be smuggled out of the country, the lack of certainty makes you question everything you have read. As much as I am looking forward to seeing what answers are provided when The Handmaid’s Tale returns to our screens next year, we will inevitably lose the tantalizing element of mystery to puzzle over. Until then, there’s just one thing left to say: Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches!



Hannah 'Nolite te Bastardes Carborundum' Moss is a PhD researcher on perceptions of architecture in the 18th Century Gothic novel at the University of Sheffield, and without her Sheffield Gothic would definitely fall apart! When she is not delving into Atwood's fiction, she can be found roaming the halls of Gothic country houses.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Goths On Tour: Sheffield Gothic attends the IGA and explores a very Gothic Mexico



Unless you’ve been hiding out in a remote convent, been on the run from a vengeful feudal Lord, or have been imprisoned by a vampiric count in his Transylvanian castle, you’ll probably be aware that the IGA’s 13th Biennial conference took place last month. Hosted by UDLAP in Cholula, Mexico, and running from 18th-21st July, this year’s IGA brought together scholars from across the world to discuss Gothic Traditions and Departures, and all of it organised by the wonderful and simply fantastic Dr. Enrique Ajuria. Several members of Sheffield Gothic were lucky enough to be able to attend the conference: presenting papers, chairing panels, and networking with the amazing community of Gothic academics. Yes: us academic Goths are a friendly, unique, and interesting bunch, and we put on the best conferences!

(Sheffield Gothic UDLAP Image)

Gothic Mexico

Before the conference started, Sheffield managed to fit in a *little* bit of sightseeing and exploring (disclaimer: we did a *lot* of sightseeing and exploring!). And we have to say, Mexico is both incredibly beautiful and incredibly Gothic. Touring Puebla, we discovered amazing carved skulls, learnt about the fascinating pre-Hispanic cultures and rituals (yes, Blood Tacos are a thing), and were amazed by the beautiful architecture of its Cathedral, churches, and library! And what better way to get over some post-conference blues than by exploring Cholula, its pyramids, and even climbing up to the church on top of the pyramid. We all agree: Mexico was the perfect setting for a Gothic conference.  

(Carved skulls, churches, and pyramids - Puebla and Cholula)
 
Reimagining the Gothic Panel

Ever keen to promote and share our projects, Sheffield Gothic presented a special ‘Reimagining the Gothic panel.’ For the past three years, our Reimagining the Gothic project has invited papers and creative projects to be presented, showcased, and displayed at our yearly conference and on our project website (reimagininggothic.com) with the aim to explore how the Gothic can be re-read, re-analysed, and re-imagined. At the IGA, we wanted to showcase some of our own research through the reimagining lens.

(Reimagining Panel, L-R: Mary Going, Dr. Kate Gadsby Mace, Lauren Nixon, Daniel Southward)

Chaired by yours truly (Mary Going and Sheffield Gothic co-organiser) the panel was comprised of three members of Sheffield Gothic: Dr. Kate Gadsby (founder of the Gothic Reading Group) with her paper ‘Reimagining the Nation: Britain and the Gothic’; Lauren Nixon (co-organiser of Sheffield Gothic) with her paper ‘Reimagining Gothic Masculinities: Heroism, Villainy and the Figure of the Soldier’; and finally Daniel Southward (member of Sheffield Gothic) with his paper ‘Reimagining the Self: The Development and Dangers of Self-Mythology within the Gothic.’ It is hard to discuss this panel without stumbling into the path of ‘my colleagues and friends are amazing and so is their research,’ but I hope that those who attended the panel enjoyed the papers and found them all thought provoking. And if you have any questions regarding these papers, want to pick the brains of the speakers, or if you want to find out more about the Reimagining the Gothic project itself, then do get in touch with us at gothicreadinggroup@gmail.com (we don’t bite!).

Other Sheffield Gothic papers

Besides our shameless self-promotion through our Reimagining the Gothic panel, there were several members of Sheffield Gothic presenting papers throughout the IGA. Presenting on the ‘18th Century Gothic and the Literary Tradition’ panel was Sheffield Gothic alumni (and continual Goth Queen) Dr. Kathleen Hudson with her paper ‘“Either heare my tale or kisse my taile”: Gothic Servant Narratives and Literary Traditions.’ Since returning to her home country of America, Kathleen has been keeping busy with her brilliant Gothic Servants project, which you can check out here: https://gothicservants.wordpress.com, and you can also follow the project on twitter at: @GothicServants. Also presenting was Hannah Moss and member of Sheffield Gothic, who contributed to the ‘18th Century Gothic: Gothic Origins’ panel with her fantastic paper ‘The Art of Imitation: Copying from the Antique in Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797).’ If you want to find out more about Kathleen and Hannah’s research, or if you have any questions regarding their papers, then do get in touch!

(Sheffield Gothic, L-R: Christopher Scott, Lauren Nixon, Dr. Kate Gadsby Mace, Dr Kathleen Hudson, Hannah Moss, Mary Going)


On the last day of the conference Sheffield Gothic hijacked one of the final panels on ‘Gothic Theology and Morality’ to present two papers and also launch our Gothic Bible project video. Chaired by our own Lauren Nixon, and also featuring a paper by Carina Hart (on ‘Beauty, Morality and the Gothic Fairy Tale’) Christopher Scott (member of Sheffield Gothic and Gothic Bible project co-lead) presented his paper on ‘Gothic Theologies: Eden, Religious Tradition, and Ecological Exegesis in Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Lost Valley’ and ‘The Transfer’, while I also presented a paper titled ‘A New Cain: Examining Matthew Lewis’ Wandering Jew as the Archetype for the Gothic Wandering Jew.’ If you have any questions regarding our papers, or if you want to find out more about the Gothic Bible project and upcoming conference (see our cfp http://sheffieldgothicreadinggroup.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/gothic-bible-2017.html), then do direct emails to Christopher and myself (Mary) or check out the project homepage: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/siibs/sresearch/gothic-bible-project.

Sheffield Gothic’s Favourite panel

Over the four days of the conference, Sheffield Gothic was able to attend a lot of truly fascinating panels discussing topics as varied as the Female Gothic, Gothic Cosmogonies, and Children’s and YA Gothic Fiction. Unfortunately there were so many panels and papers that, having left our Time Machine in the UK, we were unable to hear them all (our only criticism of the IGA is that there were too many parallel panels!), but if we had to pick one panel as our favourite, then it would definitely be the ‘The Perfom-Antics of the Latinx Gothic in Music, Drama, and Dance.’ While Sheffield Gothic are novices when it comes to Latinx Gothic, this panel was incredibly fascinating! With papers exploring: Indigenism and the Cholo-Goth Aesthetic through the band Prayers; queer assembly, performance, and protest of Zombie Bazaars; the representation of borders and Border Horror in the From Dusk Till Dawn franchise; and a focus on the queer dystopian lens to explore Space as Dystopia – it is safe to say that we learned a lot. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this panel was the demonstration that religious rituals and practices – and especially as lived experiences – is as much a part of Latinx Gothic as it is to the Gothic overall.

Keynotes

Along with the rich variety of papers and panels, this year’s IGA included three fantastic keynotes (and whether unintentional or not, we think it’s great that all three were women!). Sharing their diverse research were: Professor Isabella van Elferen, with her ‘Dark Sound: Being and Timbre in Gothic’; Professor Maisha Wester, discussing ‘Duppy vs Ghost, Obeah vs Witchcraft: Dueling Folklore in Black Diasporic Gothic Fiction’; and finally Professor Aurora Piňeiro, leading us through her talk on ‘A Trail of Bread Crumbs to Follow: Gothic Rewitings of ‘Hansel and Gretel’, from Angela Carter to Mariana Enríquez.’ All three keynotes were excellent and perfectly apposite to the conference theme of Gothic Traditions and Departures. Sheffield Gothic also looks forward to welcoming Maisha Wester to the University of Sheffield as a Fulbright scholar later this year!

Los misterios de las monjas vampiras

Perhaps the highlight of the conference (although admittedly one of many, many highlights) was the premier of ‘Primer misterio: Las monjas vampiras contra el hijo de Benito Juárez’, a short video and first instalment of a larger project created and directed by Antonio Álvarez Morán.  What more can be said of this film other than: if you like nuns, or more specifically if you like Vampire nuns, and if you like watching films about vampire nuns with Mexican wrestling, then you need this film in your life! The film, and the Q&A session with its fantastic director and fabulous vampire nun actress were incredible; and Sheffield Gothic awaits the next instalment with baited breath!

(Top, L-R: Hannah Moss, Dr. Enrique Ajuria, Director Antonio Álvarez Morán, and Dr. Kathleen Hudson.  Bottom, L-R: Dr. Kathleen Hudson, Vampire Nun Actress, and Mary Going)

Conference Banquet Dinner and Gothic Disco

Another highlight of the conference was the banquet dinner and famous Goth disco, held at Restaurante Hacienda Las Bodegas del Molino. The dinner – comprising of traditional Mexican dishes including the delicious mole poblano – was lovely, and the disco everything a Goth academic could want (yes, Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ was a key feature!). Before the dinner, we were also treated to a very Gothic tour of the manor, where we were lead first by a Monk, and then several other characters including a mad man and what I can only assume was a vampire women as they recounted the Gothic history of the manor.

Breaking of the Piñatas

What better way to end an IGA in Mexico than with the breaking of piñatas! Throughout the entire conference, the piñatas (of which there were five: a rather creepy lady and equally creepy gentleman; a witch; a spider; and the much loved Black Philip) were a constant Gothic presence. Certainly, we were treated with a lot of amazing Gothic creativity during the conference, from the specially curated murals to displays Antonio Álvarez Morán’s own artwork before the premiere of his film. However, piñatas are made to be broken, smashed, and destroyed, and the Gothic community gladly obliged. Sadly, Black Philip did not survive – but he will be forever remembered dearly in our hearts.

(Piñatas!)
 
Looking forward

Although this year’s IGA is sadly over, there are lots of things to look forward to and celebrate. The new IGA co-presidents were announced - Professor Justin Edwards (University of Stirling) and Professor Jason Haslam (Dalhousie University) – marking the IGA’s first inter-continental presidency of the IGA, and we look forward to seeing the community of Gothic scholars and the IGA grow under their leadership. We also have not one but two IGA’s to look forward to two IGAs in the next few years: IGA Manchester 2018 and IGA Chicago 2019. Without a doubt, there is a lot of Gothic activity on the horizon to sink your teeth into. #GothsAssemble

Mary 'Slayer' Going is a PhD Researcher at the University of Sheffield and member of Sheffield Gothic. her research focuses on representations of Jewish figures in Romantic and Gothic fiction. She is our very own website and vampire expert (especially on all things Buffy!).

Friday, 16 June 2017

Steamgoth and Dreadpunk: How a Goth makes her way in Steampunk Circles



I’ve been drawn to Gothic themes in literature since childhood. Edgar Allan Poe was revelatory to me. His exquisite, inimitable style led me down a 19th century Gothic path in my interests, art and style. I began writing in the style from an early age.

As a teen, my interest broadened as an understanding of "Goth" emerged and I fully immersed myself into the scene in the late 90s. When I first began dressing in my own distinct style it was fully and unapologetically Victorian Gothic and I haven't looked back or changed that style now in decades. (Am I officially an "Elder Goth" yet? ;) )

After years training in classical theatre and trodding the boards across regional American theatres and Shakespeare companies, I traded in auditions for Query letters. After a long and arduous journey of revisions and rejections, I finally landed an agent and a New York publisher, my debut The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, came out in 2009, dubbed as a "Harry Potter meets Jane Eyre" kind of saga, a Gothic Victorian, aka Gaslamp Fantasy where Greek Mythology entwines with brooding, quirky mortals and a retinue of ghosts and paranormal dealings collide during the terrifying reign of Jack the Ripper. 

Perilous Prohecy book cover, part of the Strangely Beautiful series

Once published, I was told that my Neo-Victorian style, sensibilities and the settings of my books would be welcome in the emerging Steampunk crowd. Once I learned that Steampunk existed, I realized I'd been running near to and parallel that aesthetic my whole life. While Steampunk is Victorian Science Fiction and my work in Victorian-set Gothic and Fantasy is technically termed Gaslamp Fantasy, it is related and readers embrace the genres as included under Steampunk's wide parasol.

I never gave up Goth to 'become' Steampunk, I was just myself in Steampunk circles, where many Goths found a bit of refuge as many of our clubs and hangouts closed and our community options became more limited. A love of regalia, finery, innovation and DIY “maker” culture remains a welcome fusion between Goth and Steampunk. The great thing about RetroFuturist circles like Steampunk and other eras of Punk is that there are a lot of extensions under the vast parasol of reinvention.

A few years ago Derek Tatum, director of the Horror Track at DragonCon, an enormous Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention in Atlanta every year, broached the idea of what a more Gothic centered word would be to run as a parallel term to Steampunk, and between us and acclaimed author Cherie Priest, the term “Dreadpunk” was coined. The emphasis remains on “Dread” being the animus and crux of a literary Gothic narrative, hoping to claim certain things as uniquely under the auspices of Victorian Gothic and Horror rather than Steampunk, such as the Showtime show Penny Dreadful and Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. To call those examples Steampunk would not suit as the Victorian Science-Fiction, technological focus and aesthetic of gears and airships does not apply. Just because something is historically inspired does not automatically mean it has the technological and reinvention aspects that Steampunk features so prominently. Dreadpunk keeps the focus on the entertaining shadows. https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/dreadpunk-dragoncon-gothic-horror-fantasy/

SteamGoth is another word I’ve heard and utilized in terms of fashion and aesthetic, and I see that style on full, proud display at every Steampunk event I do. While Goths who sided more with Punk and Cyberpunk aesthetics of vinyl, spikes and blinking lights might not at first glance feel as welcome in the 19th century specific Steampunk circles, check out the role playing game Unhallowed Metropolis, a fantastic system created by amazing artists and creative forces, as an example of a way that every style of Goth and Steampunk have the possibility of being entirely interwoven. 

In terms of the era that inspires Steampunk, Dreadpunk and SteamGoth, I'm not interested in Romanticizing the 19th century. In my own exploration of Gaslamp Fantasy and the Victorian Gothic, I do not replicate outmoded ideas of gender / racial /societal roles in my fiction, but I do let my characters operate in and chafe against the ‘system’ (that’s where the Punk comes in: if there isn’t an element of Anti-Establishment than it isn’t a part of any of these genres, really). It's important to understand that those who gravitate to historical Goth and Steampunk aren't there for historical reenactment, we are here for a reimagining. 

Eterna and Omega book cover, part of the Eterna Files series

I've met some of my favorite Goth bands working today doing Steampunk events, sharing the love of reinventing long lost time periods in our own image. Talented groups like The Long Losts (https://www.thelonglosts.com/ ) I met thanks to the Nightshade Society (https://www.facebook.com/TheNightshadeSociety ) at Steampunk World's Fair, a Society committed to keeping Goth undead and darkly vibrant forever. Having first met on panels about our mutually beloved Edgar Allan Poe, Valentine Wolfe (http://valentinewolfe.com/ ) has become one of my favorite band through the years, a brilliant pair of highly trained musicians who describe their music as “Victorian Chamber Metal” and an evening of their music is to be impressed and delighted by everything that makes Goth kick-ass and revelatory. We talk Dreadpunk a great deal and support one another’s work heartily. We talk about welcoming spaces, and the places and ways in which we can continue reaching for beautiful things from the past to transform in this modern world.

Folks like us that you'll see at Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Steampunk conventions around the US represent the fusion of the Goth and Steampunk worlds as mutual places where fashion and exploration of other times and fantastical themes are core to our interests and identities as we present our own unique take on the world past, present and future. Adding more agency, diversity, ingenuity, inclusivity and feminism into the 19th century vibe, a vital, critical distinction, is a trait Goth and Steampunk share. We hold dear a love of dressing up and creating art, music, fashion and alternative culture together, so many welcoming fusions, but it only lives and thrives if it is an open and affirming space for all people.

While clubs and shops, music and buildings may come and go and change, there will, if we allow the space and imagination for them, always be spaces for beautiful reinvention, because old souls will always find ways to come together, in or out of the shadows. 

---

L R Hieber - Author photo by C. Johnstone

 Actress, playwright and author Leanna Renee Hieber is the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens. Her Strangely Beautiful saga, beginning with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists and garnered numerous regional genre awards, with new revised editions from Tor Books now available. Darker Still was named an American Bookseller’s Association “Indie Next List” pick and a Scholastic Book Club “Highly Recommended” title. Her new Gaslamp Fantasy saga, The Eterna Files and Eterna and Omega, is now available from Tor Books with the conclusion, The Eterna Solution, releasing 11/2017. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies such as Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, Willful Impropriety, The Mammoth Book of Gaslamp Romance, featured on Tor.com and she writes for Criminal Element. A 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in the genre of Fantasy Romance, Leanna’s books have been selected for national book club editions and translated into languages such as Complex Chinese, German and Polish. A proud member of performer unions Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, she lives in New York City where she is a licensed ghost tour guide and has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. She is represented by Paul Stevens of the Donald Maass agency and is active on social media, more information, resources and free reads can be found at leannareneehieber.com

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Gothic Regions Regional Gothic


Report on a one day symposia organised by the Centre for the History of the Gothic, Monday April 24th, 10.00-16.30.



The symposia on Gothic regions, attended by academics, early career researchers and PhD students from a number of institutions, addressed the idea of place and how it relates to the Gothic. The symposia also explored how such Gothic sites might be developed into places of interest for the Gothically minded tourist. The day was led by two external speakers (Dr Catherine Spooner from the University of Lancaster and Dr Emma McEvoy from the University of Westminster), who began the symposia with a workshop that explored the relationship between tourism and the Gothic via a discussion of a number of sociological and cultural analyses of the topic. 

Emma McEvoy’s at the start of her paper ‘Keep Calm I'm a Ripperologist: Appropriation, Negotiation and Protest in the East End’.
In the second workshop attendees explored specific examples of Gothic tourism that they had brought with them. After a lively debate, Catherine and Emma gave papers which addressed their recent research on Jack the Ripper guided walks, and the Lancashire Witch trials.

Catherine Spooner delivering her talk on ‘Get your kicks on the A666: Tourism, Psychogeography and the Lancashire Witches’.

The symposia concluded with a roundtable discussion of the day and it was agreed that as we had representatives present from four northern universities that it would be appropriate to develop an AHRC network bid around the theme of the ‘Northern Gothic’. Dr Linnie Blake, Director of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, was present at the event and as she has led on several symposia on ‘Gothic North’ and secured a PhD scholarship on the topic, it was agreed that she would be best placed to lead on this initiative with the Centre for the History of the Gothic being a participant member of the network. 

Attendees at the symposia.



The symposia was organised by Professor Andrew Smith, who co-directs the Centre for the History of the Gothic with Professor Angela Wright, and it was generously supported by funding from the Humanities Research Institute.