CfP: ‘Neo-Victorianism and the Senses: Sensing the Past’

The University of Surrey (UK) is hosting a one-day conference on Friday 22nd March 2019. Their call for papers closes on 16th December 2018. Keynote Speaker: Professor Rosario Arias, University of Málaga ‘Every sensorial perception is at the same time past and present’ (Hamilakis, 2013). Since the publication of William A. Cohen’s seminal text Embodied: Victorian Literature and … Read more

CfP: (Neo-)Victorian ‘Orientations’ in the Twenty-First Century

University of Málaga (Spain) May 15-17, 2019 Under the auspices of the Research Project “Orientation: Towards a Dynamic Understanding of Contemporary Fiction and Culture (1990s-2000s)” (ref. FFI2017-86417-P), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, this conference addresses past, present and future orientations of (neo-)Victorian literature and culture. Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewellyn’s … Read more

What is Frankenfiction?

Image via Editorial Planeta

The remix, the mashup, and the reboot have come to dominate Western popular culture. These texts are the ‘monsters’ of our age—hybrid creations that lurk at the limits of responsible consumption and acceptable appropriation. Like monsters, mashups offer audiences the thrill of transgression in a safe and familiar format. And like other popular texts before them, they are often read by critics as a sign of the artistic and moral degeneration of contemporary culture.

With this context in mind, my research explores the boundaries and connections between contemporary remix culture and its Others (adaptation, parody, the Gothic, Romanticism, postmodernism). It often does so by examining remix culture’s most ‘monstrous’ and liminal texts: Frankenfictions, or commercial narratives that insert fantastical monsters into classic literature and popular historical contexts. In this definition, Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein serves as a touchstone, offering an ideal metaphor for appropriative creativity in the twenty-first century.

Frankenfiction includes direct appropriations of classic literature, like the bestselling Quirk Classics novels, but also literary-historical dramas like the Sky/Showtime TV series Penny Dreadful (2014–2016), the depiction of monsters through an historical aesthetic in Travis Louie’s photorealistic paintings, and much, much more. It is monstrous not only because of the fantastical monsters it contains, but because of its position on the boundary between remix and more established modes of appropriation. Too engaged with tradition for some, and not traditional enough for others, Frankenfiction is a bestselling genre that nevertheless remains peripheral to critical discussions of remix. 

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Global Media Management: Transmedia Experience (25 April 2018)

I’m currently hard at work as a Teaching Fellow in Digital Media Practice with the University of Southampton (Winchester School of Art). This means that I get to teach and organise all kinds of fabulous activities for our MA students in Global Media Management. The latest of these is has been a ‘transmedia experience’: a self-guided tour of film locations around Oxford, which formed part of the programme’s annual study visit.

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Gothic States (CfP)

Here’s another great-looking conference CfP, for an event at the University of Pennsylvania, from 29-31 March, 2018: Since its inception, the Gothic has been a favorite aesthetic of artists exploring extreme states, whether psychological, political, or numinous, at times of imperial expansion, social protest, world war, global revolution, and government oppression. At the same time, its … Read more

The Gothic Bible (CfP)

Though I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to submit something to this conference, it looks like a very tempting post-summer project. You can find the original abstract here.  SIIBS and The Centre for the History of the Gothic are pleased to announce an interdisciplinary one day conference exploring the theme ‘Gothic Bible’. Since the creation … Read more

Going Gothic at Strawberry Hill House

This excursion report was first shared on the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS) blog. You can find the original post here. On 1 March, 2015 the Walpole Trust reopened Strawberry Hill House to the public. As the former home of Horace Walpole, famed (and famously eccentric) author of the first Gothic novel, the house has been … Read more