Centre directors

Angela Wright

Mary Shelley (University of Wales Press, 2018)

Mary Shelley reappraises the significance of Frankenstein alongside other works by Shelley which could be considered to revise the significance and fluctuating meanings of ‘Gothic’ during the Romantic period. It offers scholarly, fresh readings of the 1818 and 1831 editions of Frankenstein, as well as chapters upon the fiction that Shelley composed in between both editions, and during the same decade as its second edition.

In its broader examination of Mary Shelley’s work, this study is the first of its kind within the field of Gothic studies. Alongside sustained explorations of Frankenstein, Matilda, Valperga and The Last Man, the volume Mary Shelley reappraises some of the shorter essays and tales that the author composed for contemporary magazines. Angela Wright argues that the time is now right for a re-examination of the extent to which Shelley participated in and redirected the Gothic tradition.

Mary Shelley is also featured in the Sheffield Authors Showcase.

Romantic Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015) (ISBN: 9780748696741)

Self-consciously breaching the critical divide between what literary history has subsequently differentiated as the ‘Gothic’ and the ‘Romantic’, this collection of 17 newly commissioned chapters seeks to draw attention to that prominent strain in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British, American and European literature in which the distinction between the popular, low-cultural reaches of the Gothic and the ‘High’ Romantic aesthetics of more canonical figures is all but erased.

Edited by Angela Wright and Dale Townshend, this collection

  • subjects early Gothic writing to sustained critical attention and re-examination

  • situates British Gothic writing in relation to contemporary developments of the mode in America and Continental Europe

  • seeks to advance current scholarly debates particularly with respect to the ongoing interest in the relationship between Romanticism and the Gothic.


  • Jane L. Hodson, ‘Gothic and the Language of Terror’, pp. 289-305

Gothic Fiction: A reader’s guide to essential criticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007) (ISBN-10: 1-4039-3666-8)

Adopting an easy-to-follow thematic approach, the Guide examines

  • contemporary criticism of the Gothic

  • the aesthetics of terror and horror

  • the influence of the French Revolution

  • religion, nationalism and the Gothic

  • the relationship between psychoanalysis and the Gothic

  • the relationship between gender and the Gothic

Concise and authoritative, this indispensable Guide provides an overview of Gothic criticism and covers the work of a variety of well-known Gothic writers, such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis and many others.

Britain, France and the Gothic, 1764-1820: The Import of Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (ISBN-10: 110703406X)

In describing his proto-Gothic fiction, The Castle of Otranto (1764), as a translation, Horace Walpole was deliberately playing on national anxieties concerning the importation of war, fashion and literature from France in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War.

In the last decade of the eighteenth century, as Britain went to war again with France, this time in the wake of revolution, the continuing connections between Gothic literature and France through the realms of translation, adaptation and unacknowledged borrowing led to strong suspicions of Gothic literature taking on a subversive role in diminishing British patriotism.

Angela Wright explores the development of Gothic literature in Britain in the context of the fraught relationship between Britain and France, offering fresh perspectives on the works of Walpole, Radcliffe, ‘Monk’ Lewis and their contemporaries.

Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (with Dale Townshend) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) (ISBN-10: 1107032830)

This book offers unique and fresh perspectives upon the literary productions of one of the most highly remunerated and widely admired authors of the Romantic period, Ann Radcliffe (1764–1823).

While drawing upon, consolidating and enriching the critical impulses reflected in Radcliffe scholarship to date, this collection of essays, composed by a range of renowned scholars of the Romantic period, also foregrounds the hitherto neglected aspects of the author’s work.

Radcliffe’s relations to Romantic-era travel writing; the complex political ideologies that lie behind her historiographic endeavours; her poetry and its relation to institutionalised forms of Romanticism; and her literary connections to eighteenth-century women’s writing are all examined in this collection.

Offering fresh considerations of the well-known Gothic fictions and extending the appreciation of Radcliffe in new critical directions, the collection reappraises Radcliffe’s full oeuvre within the wider literary and political contexts of her time.


  • Joe Bray, ‘Ann Radcliffe, Precursors and Portraits’

‘Eighteenth-Century Gothic’, Gothic Studies, including ‘Introduction’ and essay (14/1, May, 2012) (ISSN: 1362–7937)

‘Instruments of Enlightenment’ (with Hamish Mathison) including ‘Introduction’ (with Mathison), History of European Ideas, (31/2, 2005. ISSNs: 0191-6599)

The Cambridge History of the Gothic, Vol. 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Angela Wright and Dale Townshend (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).


  • Angela Wright, ‘Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis’

The Cambridge History of the Gothic: Volume 2: Gothic in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Dale Townshend and Angela Wright (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000)


  • Callaghan, Madeleine and Angela Wright, ‘Gothic Romanticism and the Summer of 1816’, pp. 19-40

Andrew Smith

Gothic Fiction and the Writing of Trauma, 1914-1934: The Ghosts of World War One (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2022)

This book examines how the representation of the ghost-soldier in literature published between 1914–1934, both marks the presence of trauma and attempts to make sense of it. Andrew Smith examines short stories, novels, poems and memoirs that employ ghosts to reflect upon feelings of loss, paralleling the literary context with accounts of shell-shock which construe the damaged soldier as psychologically missing and therefore spectre-like.

Andrew Smith argues that literary and non-literary texts repeatedly deploy a form of the uncanny, familiar from a Gothic tradition, as a way of reflecting upon grief. In support of this claim, he draws on fiction by well-known authors such as M. R. James, E. F. Benson, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Dennis Wheatley, alongside largely forgotten contributions to The Strand and other periodical publications such as The Occult Review.

The Ghost Story 1840-1920: A Cultural History (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010) (Nominated for the Allan Lloyd Smith prize)

The ghost story 1840-1920: A cultural history examines the British ghost story within the political contexts of the long nineteenth century. By relating the ghost story to economic, national, colonial and gendered contexts’ it provides a critical re-evaluation of the period. The conjuring of a political discourse of spectrality during the nineteenth century enables a culturally sensitive reconsideration of the work of writers including Dickens, Collins, Charlotte Riddell, Vernon Lee, May Sinclair, Kipling, Le Fanu, Henry James and M.R. James.

Additionally, a chapter on the interpretation of spirit messages reveals how issues relating to textual analysis were implicated within a language of the spectral. This book is the first full-length study of the British ghost story in over 30 years and it will be of interest to academics, graduate students and advanced undergraduates working on the Gothic, literary studies, historical studies, critical theory and cultural studies.

Gothic Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007, revised 2013)

This introductory study provides a thorough grounding in both the history of Gothic literature and the way in which Gothic texts have been (and can be) critically read. The book opens with a chronology and an introduction to the principal texts and key critical terms, followed by four chapters: The Gothic Heyday 1760-1820; Gothic 1820-1865; Gothic Proximities 1865-1900; and the Twentieth Century. The discussion examines how the Gothic has developed in different national contexts and in different forms, including novels, novellas, poems, and films.

Each chapter concludes with a close reading of a specific text – Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, Dracula and The Silence of the Lambs– to illustrate the ways in which contextual discussion informs critical analysis. The book ends with a conclusion outlining possible future developments within scholarship on the Gothic. The book: provides a single, comprehensive and accessible introduction to Gothic literature; offers a coherent account of the historical development of the Gothic in a range of literary and national contexts; introduces the ways in which critical theories of class, gender, race and national identity have been applied to Gothic texts; and includes an outline of essential resources and a guide to further reading.

Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity and the Gothic at the fin-de-siècle (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004)

Victorian demons provides the first extensive exploration of largely middle-class masculinities in crisis at the fin de siècle. It analyses how ostensibly controlling models of masculinity became demonised in a variety of literary and medical contexts, revealing the period to be much more ideologically complex than has hitherto been understood, and makes a significant contribution to Gothic scholarship.

Andrew Smith demonstrates how a Gothic language of monstrosity, drawn from narratives such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Dracula, increasingly influenced a range of medical and cultural contexts, destabilising these apparently dominant masculine scripts. He provides a coherent analysis of a range of examples relating to masculinity drawn from literary, medical, legal and sociological contexts, including Joseph Merrick (‘The Elephant Man’), the Whitechapel murders of 1888, Sherlock Holmes’s London, the writings and trials of Oscar Wilde, theories of degeneration and medical textbooks on syphilis.

Gothic Radicalism: Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Macmillan, 2000)

Gothic Radicalism: Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in the Nineteenth Century has been acknowledged by reviewers as being the first book to properly explore the relationship between Romantic and Victorian Gothic literature by examining how the Gothic critically engaged with eighteenth century theories of sublimity and nineteenth century models of subjectivity.

The Victorian Gothic: an Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012) Co-edited with William Hughes

The first multi-disciplinary scholarly consideration of the Victorian Gothic. These 14 chapters, each written by an acknowledged expert in the field, provide an invaluable insight into the complex and various Gothic forms of the nineteenth century. Covering a range of diverse contexts, the chapters focus on science, medicine, Queer theory, imperialism, nationalism, and gender. Together with further chapters on the ghost story, realism, the fin de siecle, pulp fictions, sensation fiction, and the Victorian way of death, the Companion provides the most complete overview of the Victorian Gothic to date. The book is an essential resource for students and scholars working on the Gothic, Victorian literature and culture, and critical theory.

The Female Gothic: New Directions (New York: Palgrave, 2009) Co-edited with Diana Wallace

This rich and varied collection of essays makes a timely contribution to critical debates about the Female Gothic, a popular but contested area of literary studies. The contributors revisit key Gothic themes – gender, race, the body, monstrosity, metaphor and motherhood – to open up new directions for criticism, while two essays on Scottish and Welsh Gothic represent the latest work in these new areas.

Writers discussed range from central figures such as Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Brontë, and Angela Carter, and neglected figures like the authors of the ‘Northanger novels’, to writers who are rarely discussed as ‘Gothic’ such as Iris Murdoch, Toni Morrison and Iain Banks. An Introduction surveying criticism on the Female Gothic and an essay on the institutionalisation of Gothic Studies provide invaluable contextualisation.

Queering the Gothic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) Co-edited with William Hughes (Nominated for the Allan Lloyd Smith prize)

Queering the Gothic is the first multi-authored book concerned with the developing interface between Gothic criticism and queer theory. Considering a range of Gothic texts produced between the eighteenth century and the present, the contributors explore the relationship between reading Gothically and reading Queerly, making this collection both an important reassessment of the Gothic tradition and a significant contribution to scholarship on queer theory.

Writers discussed include William Beckford, Matthew Lewis, Mary Shelley, George Eliot, George Du Maurier, Oscar Wilde, Eric, Count Stenbock. E. M. Forster, Antonia White, Melanie Tem, Poppy Z. Brite, and Will Self. There is also exploration of non-text media including an analysis of Michael Jackson’s pop videos.

Arranged chronologically, the book establishes links between texts and periods and examines how conjunctions of ‘queer’, ‘gay’, and ‘lesbian’ can be related to, and are challenged by, a Gothic tradition. All of the chapters were specially commissioned for the collection, and the contributors are drawn from the forefront of academic work in both Gothic and Queer Studies.

The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Ecogothic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013) Co-edited with William Hughes

Gothic Death 1740–1914: A Literary History (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016)