SAMLA 2010: Nineteenth-Century Supernatural (Romantic and Victorian Session)

full name / name of organization: 
Melissa Edmundson / SAMLA
contact email: 

Ghosts and ghost stories fascinated the British reading public throughout the nineteenth century. The supernatural genre was an intriguing area for many authors during this time because it allowed them to voice their socio-political concerns within the well-known and non-threatening form of the ghost story. These writers used the figure of the ghost to carry their messages of social reform, or to raise awareness of problems in British society that needed to be considered or changed. Thus, the "social supernatural" often combines an entertaining ghost story with a deeper social or political agenda. For the 2010 Romantic and Victorian SAMLA session, topics that address the above concerns are especially welcome.

Topics could include:
- Critiques of gender, economics, religion, class, race, or imperialism through a supernatural lens
- Ghosts as contaminating influences (such as critiques of Victorian disease and other health issues)
- Forgotten ghost story writers
- Supernatural poetry vs. prose
- Publishing histories of supernatural literature (in collections, periodicals, popular magazines, etc.)
- Beneficial/friendly ghosts
- Colonial and postcolonial ghosts
- Comparisons of female vs. male ghost story writers; are there major differences in subject and style?

Please send 1-page abstracts along with a short c.v. (including complete contact information) to Melissa Edmundson at by May 15, 2010. Accepted presenters will need to be members of SAMLA by August 2010.