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CFP: Haunted Men: Masculinity in the Ghost Stories of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras (4/29; 9/5/2011)

Haunted Men: Masculinity in the Ghost Stories of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras
One-Day Symposium, September 5, 2011

Keynote Speaker: Professor William Hughes, Bath Spa University

The ghost story is often cited in contemporary commentary as a female genre. It is however a genre which follows the growing agitation for women’s rights throughout the period: the rise of the New Woman, the suffragette movement, and numerous political and legal changes. Diana Wallace argues that: "The ghost story as a form has allowed women writers special kinds of freedom, not merely to include the fantastic and supernatural, but also to offer critiques of male power and sexuality which are often more radical than those in more realistic genres"(Gothic Studies 6.1 May 2004). This symposium will examine what happens to representations of men and masculinity in the ghost stories produced by both men and women in the face of growing criticism and change. Jennifer Uglow in the introduction to the Virago Book of Ghost Stories posits the idea that the men who see ghosts in these stories are pushed "into conventional female roles: timid, nervous, helpless" (xvii). However, while sometimes ghosts and those men who see them are queered, manliness remains evident in some stories and in others muscular Christianity comes into play. Elsewhere rationality as well as religion is tested to its limits.

We invite 250-500 word proposals for 20 minute papers to be submitted by April 29, 2011 to ruth.heholt@falmouth.ac.uk. The remit is wide, although there are some suggestions for topics/areas of discussion below:

  • Haunted patriarchs
  • Ghosts in the closet
  • Manly/effeminate ghosts
  • Ghosts in the domestic sphere
  • Sporting ghosts (hunting, shooting, fishing etc.)
  • Ghost-hunting
  • Ghosts and authorship/readership
  • Haunting and performance
  • Haunting and technology

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