Gothic Girlhood: Intersecting Identities Across Gothic Traditions

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Diana Wallace and Andrew Smith note that the Female Gothic has been an ever-shifting category since its introduction into literary vocabulary by Ellen Moers in 1976, asserting that the Female Gothic “is shaped by...national identity, sexuality, language, race, and history” (The Female Gothic, 10). Gothic scholarship has long demonstrated that the mode varies across national and continental borders particularly drawing out distinctions between the American and the British. However, less attention has been paid to the concept of age. Keeping in mind the conference theme, how does the space of girlhood and/or adolescence complicate or further our understanding of the Female Gothic? In other words, how does examining the intersection of girlhood along with national, racial, and/or cultural identifiers change our conception of what the Female Gothic does? For the purposes of our panel, we aim to use a capacious definition of the Female Gothic and discuss texts that might not otherwise be considered Gothic. While works like Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca (1938) or Joyce Carol Oates's Bellefleur (1980) contain clear connections to traditional Gothic elements like female madness and the ancestral manor, other works that are not typically placed within the modern Gothic canon, such as Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959) or Jeffrey Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides (1993), engage with questions of girlhood and the Gothic tradition in innovative and compelling ways. This panel invites papers that interrogate Gothic depictions of girlhood and female adolescence in 20 and 21st century American or British/Anglophone literature (including, but not limited to, fiction, film, drama, and video games). In particular, we seek papers that work towards an understanding of intersectional identities within the Gothic while paying particular attention to girlhood and female adolescence.

All proposals must be submitted through the NeMLA portal (see link below) by September 30, 2019 and should be no more than 300 words.


Please direct inquiries to Margaret Frymire Kelly (