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Contemporary Gothic

Monday 7th - Monday 21st October 2013

The Gothic is, quite simply, everywhere: from the record-breaking successes of the Twilight vampire films and the TV series The Walking Dead, to the critically acclaimed videogames Left for Dead and Dead Space. Its ubiquity is nothing new. Since its first wave of success in the late eighteenth century, the Gothic has proved to be a truly chameleonic artistic mode, consistently adapting itself to suit the tastes of contemporary audiences whilst simultaneously projecting their innermost anxieties. In the virtual and digital age, the Gothic has proliferated in places where it had not traditionally found a home. What challenges does a new array of media bring to the study of the Gothic? And more importantly, why are we still hungry for zombies, vampires, ghouls and other things that go bump in the night?

The Contemporary Gothic strand attempts to answer these questions through a series of papers by distinguished academics in the vibrant field of Gothic Studies. Through various critical lenses, and in a thoroughly interdisciplinary spirit, these sessions will explore what lies at the heart of our continuing fascination with all things dark. Focusing on the recent resurgence of zombies, the explosion of the Gothic on TV, and the scholarly-neglected area of Gothic music, these papers will help us understand exactly what it is that new Gothic texts may have to tell us about ourselves and the society we live in.

Monday 7th October: Zombie? – Prof Fred Botting (Kingston)

Monday 14th October: Gothic TV Panel - Dr Stacey Abbott (Roehampton), Dr Linnie Blake (MMU) and Dr Catherine Spooner (Lancaster)

Monday 21st October: Gothic Music: Uncanny Sounds on Screens and in Scenes - Professor Isabella van Elferen (Kingston)


Contemporary Gothic convenor: Dr. Xavier Aldana Reyes (MMU)

Xavier Aldana Reyes is Research Fellow in English at MMU, where he is helping to build the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies. His interest in the Gothic is on-going and, apart from currently co-teaching on the MA course ‘Gothic and Modernity’, he is working on the monograph Body Gothic: Corporeal Transgression in Contemporary Literature and Horror Film, to be published in 2014. His research interests include film and, with Dr Linnie Blake, he is editing a collection on digital horror. He has published widely on the Gothic, horror film, corporeality and affect.