“That tree gives me the creeps!”: Tales of Vampiric Plants

Readers of Gothic literature will quickly recognize that Irene is suffering from a vampire bite. She is not the victim of Dracula, Carmilla, or Lord Ruthven, though. Rather, it is a vampiric sumach tree that has attacked her during her sleep. Ulric Daubeny’s “The Sumach,” published in his collection The Elemental: Tales of the Supernormal and the Inexplicable (1919), is a fascinating killer-plant story. It tells of a tree that has grown from a stake plunged into the heart of a buried vampire. The tree possesses hypnotic powers that seduce young women to its branches to feed upon them.

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“Is it a snake with legs, or a lizard without them?”: The Strange and Wondrous Case of the Biscobra

Alice Perrin’s anthology of gothic short stories, East of Suez (1901), concludes with a rather unsettling story called “The Biscobra.” Perrin’s “The Biscobra” is a rare instance in Anglo-Indian fiction where the biscobra is the central concern. Here, the eponymous Indian animal—strange, wondrous, and deadly—devastates the domestic life of a young Anglo-Indian couple, the Kreys. The biscobra, in this story, does some narrative heavy lifting: it falls on a pregnant Nell Krey’s shoulders, frightening her to death; becomes the reincarnation

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Neo-Victorian Afterlives: Time, Empire, and the Occult in Final Fantasy VIII

The Final Fantasy video game series is famous for its idiosyncratic narratives and eclectic references to different historical time periods. Often using concrete eras and locales as inspiration for their imagined fantasy-based worlds, the series has oscillated between medieval, steampunk, futuristic, Mediterranean, and Western settings. But what happens when a title modernizes specific aspects of nineteenth-century culture and represents them in a stylized format for the contemporary consumer? In the 1999 Japanese Role-Playing Game, Final Fantasy VIII, which was recently

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BBC’s 2020 Dracula and its Others

Remakes of Victorian novels abound in the twenty-first century. While Dracula seems to be a particular favourite for re-writes, we seem consistently drawn back to the Victorian era for our gothic monsters: The Limehouse Golem, Penny Dreadful, Jekyll + Hyde, Sweeney Todd, and many more.[1] Beth Palmer describes these almost Freudian re-imaginings as ‘dramas which are often […] seeking to re-stage, in different ways, the neo-Victorian double-act of surprise and recognition: the Victorians were so strange; the Victorians were strange

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Italian Refractions of the Victorian Gothic: Matilde Serao’s Fragmented Human Subject

In a compelling exploration of interdisciplinarity, the Victorianist Kelly Hurley examines the influence of nineteenth-century science on contemporaneous literary developments. Hurley argues that radical developments in a range of fields dislodged a comfortable anthropocentrism, which in turn asked uneasy questions of humans’ self-assigned transcendency within the natural order: The new discoveries in the geological and biological sciences required a radical rethinking of humanity’s position relative to its environment: its intimate relation to lower species; the role of the mere individual

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Lara Rutherford-Morrison, Jack the Ripper Was A Murderous Medieval Monk; Or, I Read The Curse Upon Mitre Square So You Don’t Have To

Lara Rutherford-Morrison earned her PhD in Victorian literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in December of 2013. She is currently an Affiliated Scholar at Concordia University in Montreal and blogs daily for Bustle. Her research considers the ways that contemporary culture reimagines and plays with Victorian literature and history, in contexts ranging from adaptations of Victorian novels in film and fiction to heritage tourism in the U.K. She can be found at her website and on Twitter @LaraRMorrison.

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Rohan McWilliam, The Victorians Are Still With Us

Rohan McWilliam is Professor of Modern British History at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.  He is the author of The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation (London: Continuum, 2007) and is currently writing a history of the West End of London. Contact: rohan.mcwilliam@anglia.ac.uk We seldom lack heirs to G.M.Young.  When it comes to the Victorians, every age throws up its portrait of an age.[1]  But producing a wide-ranging account of Victorian Britain these days is becoming increasingly difficult.  The historical literature is

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Living the Nineteenth Century

Serena Trowbridge, Birmingham City University In the introduction to his book The Gothic Revival 1720-1870 (2002), Michael Charlesworth discusses the concept of ‘living the Gothic’, describing it as a point where the architectural and artistic intersect with the literary to form what we understand as Gothic, in interdisciplinary, cultural terms. He points out that the aspiration to ‘live’ the Gothic was often inspired by literature, as well as architecture, and also in turn inspired further literary works. Charlesworth discusses Beckford

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