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Catherine Spooner supervises 8 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Catherine Spooner


Catherine Spooner

County College

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YD

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 594876


Research overview

Catherine Spooner specialises in Gothic literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present. Her first book, Fashioning Gothic Bodies, examined the relationship between Gothic literature and dress from the French Revolution to Goth subculture. This was followed by Contemporary Gothic, an exploration of contemporary uses of Gothic in literature, film, television, fashion, art and consumer culture. She is currently working on an AHRC-funded research project entitled Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2015.

PhD supervision

Catherine has previously supervised six Ph.Ds to completion on the following topics:
- 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.

She currently has seven Ph.D students working on the following topics:
- Folk devils in contemporary American Gothic and crime fiction;
- Dandies in cult television, 1960s-present;
- New media technologies and hauntings;
- Gothic in contemporary children's fiction;
- Young adult Gothic femininities and contemporary fairy tales;
- Gothic influences on Grunge music (with Music);
- Turkish Gothic.

Catherine also runs the Contemporary Gothic Reading Group, which meets once a fortnight to discuss texts chosen by the participants and is open to all postgraduates and staff across the university. She welcomes Ph.D applications related to any aspect of Gothic literature and culture, or to literature and fashion, and is happy to consider interdisciplinary proposals.

Research Interests

Catherine Spooner specialises in Victorian and contemporary literature and culture, and her particular research interests incorporate Gothic literature, film, and popular culture, and fashion and dress in literature.

Catherine's first book, Fashioning Gothic Bodies, published in 2004 by Manchester University Press, explores the relationship between fashion discourses and constructions of the body in Gothic texts, from the French Revolution to contemporary Goth subculture. It examines the ways in which the bodies represented in Gothic novels and films are influenced by historically specific debates about clothing, from the flimsily-attired heroines of the late eighteenth century, through the lunatics and dandies of the nineteenth century, to the Goths of the late twentieth century.

Her second book, Contemporary Gothic (Reaktion 2006), reflects her continuing interest in the relationship between Gothic and material culture. With discussion ranging from the significance of Gothic images in advertising to the exploitation of Goth style in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it investigates in a variety of twenty-first century contexts what it means to go 'Gothic Shopping'. Click here for a review of Contemporary Gothic in Art Review, and here for a review in Cultural Sociology. Contemporary Gothic was translated into Korean in 2008.

The Routledge Companion to Gothic, a collection of 26 essays by some of the major researchers in the field, co-edited with Emma McEvoy of the University of Westminster, was published in 2007. Click here for a review in Oscholars.

Catherine is currently working on an AHRC-funded project entitled Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2015. The book will explore 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. She is also co-editing two collections of essays inspired by the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association, 'Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects', July 21-24 2009, which she co-organised with Professor Fred Botting.

Catherine's long-term interests in Gothic and teenage culture have lately resurfaced in the Beyond Twilight project, co-organised with PhD student Chloe Buckley, which seeks to explore Gothic fiction for young adults. An event bringing together authors, readers and scholars was held on 27 September 2013, and the project continues as a website and blog.

Catherine's next project will explore the Gothic North, examining the relationship of place, local and regional identity and folklore to Gothic texts set in the north of England, with particular focus on the legacy of the 'Lancashire witches'.

Catherine is currently co-president of the International Gothic Association.

Read an interview with Catherine on the University of Stirling's Gothic Imagination website here and her guest blog on the same site here. Follow her tweets at https://twitter.com/LancasterGothic.

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'.

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.

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