Paving the road for men of brighter talents: celebrating the tercentenary of Horace Walpole

deadline for submissions: 
August 18, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Aeternum: Journal of Contemporary Gothic Studies
contact email: 

Author of nominally the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, the collection of gothic short stories, The Hieroglyphic Tales, and the gothic play The Mysterious Mother, Walpole developed a style with hyperbolic tendencies, odd and wild ornamentation, rude irregularity and deliberate disharmony in an effort to free the authorial imagination from the ennui and malaise engendered by neoclassical order and form. The prefaces to his fictional works often featured commentary on the current state of literature, art and culture, and his self-published letters, are themselves of significant social and political interest. As well as his own works, Walpole published the works of authors such as graveyard poet Thomas Gray, at his Strawberry Hill Press, and formed the Strawberry Hill Set, a reading circle of like-minded intellectuals, including Hannah Moore and Anna Laetitia Barbauld. Walpole’s neo-gothic mansion also housed an eclectic collection of objets d’art and was, architecturally speaking, many decades ahead of its time, heralding the new architectural trends of the Victorian period. To reflect Walpole’s broad intellectual interests and cultural pursuits, papers on, but not restricted to, the following topics are sort:


  • Eighteenth century minds: historical and cognitive construction
  • Health, disease, disability and medicine in the eighteenth century
  • Seduction and sexual violence in the eighteenth century
  • Science, politics, religion and the gothic
  • Travel writing, grand tours and gothic geology: climate change, nature and environmentalism in the eighteenth century
  • Eighteenth century hybrids: generic mixes and monstrosity
  • Aestheticism and the (anti) aesthetic text: affect and sensibility
  • Enlightenment’s others and eighteenth century theories of the person
  • Mothers, motherhood, women’s bodies and female agency in eighteenth century gothic texts
  • Queerness, gender, sexuality and eighteenth century gothic
  • Reading and reciting in the eighteenth century: graveyard poetry and gothic verse
  • Letter culture, discursivity and manuscript culture in the eighteenth century
  • Booksellers, circulating libraries and literary salons of the eighteenth century: the private and public spheres converge
  • Reading eighteenth century letters in the digital age
  • Print culture, the periodical and book beauty
  • Women’s periodicals in the eighteenth century
  • Amateurism and theatricality
  • Art, design and architecture of the eighteenth century
  • Strawberry Hill and other eighteenth century gothic spaces
  • Antiquarianism and historiography in the eighteenth century
  • Walpole’s contemporaries and influences
  • Eighteenth century on film
  • Teaching the eighteenth century


Complete essays of between 4000 and 6000 words should be submitted by 5:00pm 18 August 2017. Final selection, following double-blind peer review, will be made by 8 September 2017. The issue will be published at the end of September 2017, the month of Horace Walpole’s birth. Questions, expressions of interest and complete essays should be addressed to issue editor


To read more on the journal’s aims and scope, as well as the author guidelines, see: and