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Catherine Spooner supervises 9 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Catherine Spooner

Professor of Literature and Culture

Catherine Spooner

County College



Tel: +44 1524 594876

Research overview

Catherine Spooner specialises in Gothic literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present, with a particular interest in fashion. She is the author of three books: Fashioning Gothic Bodies, Contemporary Gothic and Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic. She has also co-edited three books: The Routledge Companion to Gothic (with Emma McEvoy), Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects (with Fred Botting) and Return to Twin Peaks (with Jeffrey Weinstock). She is currently working on a Gothic cultural history of the white dress and investigating the modern legacy of the Lancashire Witches. 

PhD supervision

Catherine is an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner. She currently supervises nine students and has previously supervised eleven PhDs to completion. She welcomes PhD applications related to any aspect of Gothic literature, film, television and popular culture, or to fashion and costume in literature and/or film, and is happy to consider interdisciplinary proposals. Previous topics supervised include: monstrous fathers in contemporary film and fiction (with Sociology); literature of the 1984-5 miners' strike; the mutilated body and affect in Gothic drama and film; violent masculinities in contemporary Gothic fiction; the language of transformation in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with Linguistics); Catholicism, transnationalism and the Gothic; folk devils in contemporary American Gothic and crime fiction; dandies in cult television, 1960s-present; Gothic in contemporary children's fiction; new media technologies and hauntings; Turkish Gothic. Topics currently supervised include: Young Adult Gothic femininities and contemporary fairy tales; Grunge music and the grotesque; adaptations of Lovecraft in film and popular culture; Penny Dreadfuls and commodity culture; Gothic and cosmetic surgery; Gothic and celebrity; menstrual blood and breast milk in feminist art; Gothic Cumbria; Gothic drag.

Research Interests

Catherine Spooner's particular research interests incorporate Gothic literature, film, and popular culture, and fashion and costume in literature and film, within the broader spectrum of Victorian and contemporary literature and culture.

Catherine's latest book is Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic, published by Bloomsbury in February 2017. The book was the outcome of a 9-month AHRC Research Fellowship and explores such phenomena as the perennial revival of Gothic style on the high street, the advent of the sparkly vampire, and Gothic tourism in Whitby, in relation to developments in twenty-first century subcultures. In 2019 the book was awarded the Allan Lloyd Smith Prize for significantly advancing the field of Gothic Studies by the International Gothic Association.

Catherine is also the author of Fashioning Gothic Bodies (2004) and Contemporary Gothic (2006). Contemporary Gothic was translated into Korean in 2008 and Japanese in 2018. She has co-edited three books: The Routledge Companion to Gothic (with Emma McEvoy, 2007), Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects: Imaging Gothic from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (with Fred Botting, 2015) and Return to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory and Genre on Television (with Jeffrey A. Weinstock, 2015).

Catherine is currently working on a cultural history of the white dress in Gothic literature and film, and on the cultural afterlife of the Lancashire witches. She also has current research interests in folk horror, Steampunk, Gothic in Japan and Gothic in the long 1960s.

Catherine has recently contributed to the volumes accompanying three major exhibitions: Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film at the British Film Institute; Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination at the British Library and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has given public talks at venues including the Barbican Gallery, the BFI, the British Library, the Bronte Parsonage Museum, the Freud Museum, ICA London, the National Theatre and the V&A, and has made media appearances on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Three Counties Radio.

Catherine was co-President, with Angela Wright, of the International Gothic Association 2013-17. She is currently Lancaster University's Academic Lead for the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership.

Read Catherine's blogs on The Conversation and follow her on Twitter.

Current Teaching

Catherine teaches widely across the fields of Victorian, twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature within the department. She currently convenes the third-year half-unit 'Victorian Gothic' and the MA module 'Contemporary Gothic: Text and Screen', as well as the elective 'Literary Lancashire' on the Part 1 Introduction to English Literature course.

Catherine is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Additional Information

Career details

Catherine completed her BA at the University of Oxford, and her MA and Ph.D at Goldsmiths College, the University of London. She has previously worked part-time at Goldsmiths College, and full-time at Falmouth University and the University of Reading, before coming to Lancaster in 2004.

  • Published

    Gothic Comedy

    Spooner, C., 31/07/2019, Twenty-first-century Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion. Wester, M. & Aldana Reyes, X. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 189-202 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Published

    'Clothes are our weapons': dandyism, fashion and subcultural style in Angela Carter's fiction of the 1960s

    Spooner, C., 30/07/2019, The Arts of Angela Carter: A Cabinet of Curiosities. Mulvey-Roberts, M. (ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 166-182 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Published

    Unsettling Feminism: the Savagery of Gothic

    Spooner, C. L., 30/04/2019, The Gothic and Theory: An Edinburgh Companion. Hogle, J. E. & Miles, R. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 129-146 17 p. (Edinburgh Companions to the Gothic).

    Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

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