The Gothic, The (Un)Dead, and Festivals of Remembrance

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Michael O'Sullivan, CUHK
contact email: 

The Gothic, The (Un)Dead, and Festivals of Remembrance


The Gothic genre is obsessed with death whether it is Irish Gothic, Chinese Gothic or Mexican Gothic. Eighteenth and nineteenth century gothic novels gave us some of the most enduring symbols and figures for representing death and the more recent horror genre plays on a fear of death and the undead. The genre also strongly influenced early modernism with writers such as Henry James, James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield each giving us memorable stories that play with gothic motifs in describing the encounter with death. Paul De Man even describes the literary device known as prosopopoeia as one that is found in passages ‘in which the dead speak’. It ‘prefigures our own mortality’ since ‘by making the death speak, the symmetrical structure of the trope implies, […]  that the living are struck dumb, frozen in their own death’ (De Man, 1984: 78).


Festivals that remember the dead (Samhain, The Day of the Dead, the Ghost Festival [盂蘭盆節]) also celebrate the dead through performance, guising/mumming and various pranks. Each festival has its own unique practices and performances to honour that time in the year when the dead walk the earth.


This one-day symposium at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Oct. 31, 2019 brings together papers that explore the role of the gothic in festivals of the dead in different cultures and communities. Topics can include:



The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos)

The Chinese Ghost Festival

The Horror Genre

Hammer Horrors

Gothic tourism/ Practice

The Gothic genre and the representation of the dead

The Undead – Ghosts, Vampires, Zombies

Death Cultures – burial practice, folktales, superstitions, and memorial practices.

The celebration and internationalisation of Halloween (in national and/or international contexts)



Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.


The event is supported by the Irish Consulate in Hong Kong



Please send 300-word abstracts on any of the above themes to by Aug. 31.