Join us for our monthly reading group looking at all things spooky & salty 🌊 👻
In September 2021 our reading group has a session on The Tempest looking at section of Shakespeare’s play, “Shift” by Nalo Hopkinson (2011) and a filmic adaptation. Since then we’ve been exploring different approaches to this topic, see more details below and please get in touch at email@example.com if you would like to suggest any readings and/or run a session as a chair.
Chaired by Dr Sara Rich – MORE TO COME SOON
Chaired by Armin Egger
This session aims to explore the phenomenon of ghost ships from three different angles: 1) The variety of ghost ships that have been the focus of reported sightings over the course of history, including connections to folklore and possible non-supernatural explanations. 2) The different meanings of the term “ghost ship” and the various possible literary interpretations of the theme. Ghost ships can be ships that are found abandoned and aimlessly drifting on the ocean, ghostly apparitions that are (briefly) glimpsed amidst heavy mist and fog, ships with a crew of ghosts, and much more. 3) One specific and particularly influential example of a ghost ship (captain) and its doomed eternal voyage – The Flying Dutchman, a cultural figure of continuing relevance that has received widely divergent interpretations over time and allows the exploration of many – often Gothic – themes.
- Agnes Andeweg “Manifestations of The Flying Dutchman”.
- Emily Alder “Shades of the Sail”.
- The 1821 story “Vanderdecken’s Message Home” (https://sites.pitt.edu/~dash/type0777ast.html#blackwood).
- The Youtube video “Why Have So Many People Seen Ghost Ships?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlcRtHpwRi8).
- Julia Mix Barrington “Phantom Bark”.
- Frank Schuster “In Search Of The Origin of an Antarctic Ghost Ship”.
- Lecture on Arthur Conan Doyle’s adaptation of the Mary Celeste story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nOmk2qpBpM)
OCEANIC HUMANITIES & DEEP SEA
Chaired by Dr Prema Arasu
“Oceanic Humanities and the Deep Sea”
This session considers the construction of the deep sea in the cultural, historical, and scientific imaginations. Significant advances in deep-sea technology have led to advances in deep-sea biology, ecology, and oceanography. We know that the deepest trenches of the ocean are inhabited by diverse communities of amphipods and snailfish, and are accumulating cables and plastic bags. However, the deep sea continues to be described in terms of its impenetrable mystery. We will discuss how the cultural construction of the deep sea in the popular imagination facilitates or restricts meaningful entanglement with the Other.
- Jamieson et al., “Fear and loathing of the deep sea: why don’t people care about the deep ocean?”, see here.
- Alaimo, “Feminist Science Studies and Ecocriticism: Aesthetics and Entanglement in the Deep Sea”, see here.
- Jamieson & Onda, “Lebensspuren and müllspuren: Drifting plastic bags alter microtopography of seafloor at full ocean depth (10,000 m, Philippine Trench)”, here.
- Alan Jamieson – “Meet the Mysterious ‘monsters’ of the deep”:
- The Deep-Sea Podcast:
GOTHIC WATERWAYS OF THE THAMES
Chaired by Nancy Schumann and Roslyn Irving
“Gothic Waterways of the Thames”
This session explores the deadly potential of the river Thames. Like many waterways, the Thames has its fair share of urban legends and real life tragedy, and we invite you to think about the ways this can be encountered through historical events and fiction. From treacherous tides to lethal turns, the river itself presents all manner of dangers. It becomes a gothic presence for those living, working or traveling along the waterway. In this session, we will have a closer look at the sinking of the Princess Alice in 1878, a real life disaster that stirred people’s imaginations due the size of the catastrophe, that has been all but forgotten since. We will also discuss Neil Gaiman’s short story “Down to a Sunless Sea”, and the haunting memories associated with the Thames. Of course you are also invited to bring any of your own encounters with the Thames, literary or literal, perhaps in fictions such as The Picture of Dorian Gray or Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps having walked its banks!
- Excerpts from the non-fiction work The Princess Alice Disaster by Joan Lock (2013).
- The 11-minute video on the Princess Alice Disaster, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jC_3LmzMY4&ab_channel=OceanlinerDesigns
- This short story by Neil Gaiman in The Guardian entitled “Down to a Sunless Sea” (2013), available here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/mar/22/down-sunless-sea-neil-gaiman-short-story
- Thames Police: History – Princess Alice Disaster, available here: http://www.thamespolicemuseum.org.uk/h_alice_1.html
- Drowning in sewage – The forgotten story of the Princess Alice disaster, available here: https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/blog/library-archive/drowning-sewage-sinking-princess-alice
Chaired by H Frances Hallam
“Tentacular Feminism in the Ocean”
This session considers emerging critical work in feminist science studies and its contact zones within the blue humanities to consider ways in which oceanic space, materiality and nonhuman bodies facilitate different kinds of thinking. While we will examine critical texts, this reading group hopes to use these feminist encounters as a starting point to promote alternative ways of approaching ocean space in speculative fictions. We will consider how the ocean and its inhabitants can promote thinking “tentacularly” by destabilising knowledge or prompt nonhuman epistemologies, in ways that facilitate Gothic or Science Fictional encounters and estrangements.
- Haraway, D. “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene” in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke University Press, 2016.
- Stacy Alaimo “States of Suspension: Trans-corporeality at Sea” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment 19.3 (2012): 476-493.
- Astrida Neimanis “Introduction: Figuring Bodies of Water” in Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology, Bloomsbury, 2017.
- Melody Jue “Introduction: Thinking through Seawater” in Wild Blue Media: Thinking through Seawater, Duke University Press, 2020.
- Eva Hayward “Lessons From a Starfish” in Queering the Non/Human, Noreen Giffney and Myra J. Hird, eds, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
- Heather Swanson, Anna Tsing, Nils Bubandt and Elaine Gan “Introduction: Bodies Tumbled into Bodies” in Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
Chaired by Fredrik Blanc
“The Entangled Ocean: Tentacularity, Horror, and ‘The Promise of Monsters’”
This session of the Haunted Shores Reading Group explores how concepts of tentacularity, trans-corporeality, and entanglement can inform different ways of thinking oceanic horror. In putting into dialogue current ecofeminist theory and blue humanities with the Weird and phenomenologies of horror, this session explores the darker sides of oceanic entanglement and the richness of tentacularity for thinking monstrosity alongside the posthuman, and the thalassophobic within ‘wet ontologies’.
- Sperling, A. “H.P. Lovecraft’s Weird Body”, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, (31), available at http://www.rhizomes.net/issue31/sperling.html.
- Thacker, E. “Naturhorror and the Weird” in Spaces and Fictions of The Weird and The Fantastic: Ecologies, Geographies, Oddities, Julius Greve and Florian Zappe, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
- Luckhurst, R. “The Weird: A Dis/orientation” Textual Practice, 31(6) 1041–1061.
- Haraway, D. “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene” in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke University Press, 2016.
- Mathieson, J. “The Oceanic Weird, Wet Ontologies and Hydro-Criticism in China Miéville’s The Scar” in Spaces and Fictions of The Weird and The Fantastic: Ecologies, Geographies, Oddities, Julius Greve and Florian Zappe, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
- Trigg, D. The Thing: A Phenomenology of Horror, Zero Books, 2014, available at https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Thing/HBLtBAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover.
- Tuana, N. ‘Viscous Porosity: Witnessing Katrina’ (2008) in Material feminisms, available at https://www.academia.edu/12103511/Viscous_Porosity_Witnessing_Katrina.
- DeLoughrey, E. “Kinship in the Abyss: Submerging with The Deep” Atlantic Studies, 1–13.
- Deckard, S. and Oloff, K. “‘The One Who Comes from the Sea’: Marine Crisis and the New Oceanic Weird in Rita Indiana’s La Mucama de Omicunlé (2015)”, Humanities, 9(3) 86.
NOVEMBER 2022 – UCU STRIKE SOLIDARITY 🪧✊
The run up to Halloween offers the perfect moment to consider Sea “Monsters”, the ways monstrosity is imagined, and fears of aquatic depths and what the sea might conceal.
Trigger warning: some of the texts and videos below may contain gory details, blood, death, frightening scenes.
- Wells, H.G. (1896) “The Sea Raiders”, in Our Haunted Shores: Tales from the Coasts of the British Isles, edited by Emily Alder, Jimmy Packham and Joan Passey, The British Library: Tales of the Weird, 2022.
- Foster, E.M. (1920) The Story of the Siren, accessible from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/58581/58581-h/58581-h.htm.
- Verbinski, Gore (2006) The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, [Trailer], Walt Disney Studios, accessible from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-NGPgX-uYA.
- Spielberg, Steven (1975) Jaws, [Clip] Universal Pictures, accessible from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1c_E-LuSxs.
- Newell, Mike (2005) “The Second Task”, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, [Clip] Warner Bros. Pictures, accessible from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-5W8dYhqw0; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-tLdA55c3k.
- Eubank, William (2020) Underwater, [Trailer], 20th Century Studios, accessible from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCFWEzIVILc.
- Contesi, Filippo (2022), “The Affective Nature of Horror”, in Cultural Approaches to Disgust and the Visceral, edited by Max Ryynänen, Heidi Kosonen and Susanne Ylönen, Routledge, pp. 31-43.
BEACHES, COAST & GOTHIC IN AUSTRALIA AND THE OCEANIC SOUTH
Chaired by Drs Allison Craven & Diana Sandars
Three scholarly essays include two on Australian beach/coast horror/gothic, one by Mark Ryan & Liz Ellison, and the other by Lynda Hawryluk, and one on “Coastal Form” by Meg Samuelson, and a piece from The Conversation (“Literature Sheds Light…”) by Charne Lavery and Samuelson about their coinage of the term the “oceanic south”. In addition, there are some very short clips from films discussed by Ryan and Ellison. We’ll explain in the session that the film content is generally aligned with what’s known as “Australian Gothic” but the overall perspective of our anthology goes wider to the “oceanic south”. The term “oceanic south”, as mentioned, is the coinage of Charne Lavery and Meg Samuelson and their piece below explains the derivation as well as containing a link to their journal article for optional further reading. Meg Samuel’s “Coastal Form” (which also informs our project) describes the porosity of littoral/coast and develops the idea of “amphibian positions” with reference to South African fictions.
There’s an optional extra essay attached (Hawryluk’s “Exploring Australian Coastal Gothic”) for background to “Surfing with Shivers”. “Exploring Australian Coastal Gothic” appeared in the same book as Ryan and Ellison’s “Beaches in Australian Horror Films” and covers similar material, although Hawryluk discusses literature and film and attends more to the way Australian coastal gothic poetics align with traditional gothic motifs. We’ve set her “Surfing with Shivers” this time for its focus on the (as it were ‘real’) shark menace in New South Wales, and its resonance with gothic tropes about hostile nature in Australian films and literature.
- Ryan, Mark David and Elizabeth Ellison. 2020. “Beaches in Australian Horror Films: Sites of Fear and Retreat.” In Writing the Australian Beach: Local Site, Global Idea. Springer International, pp. 125-141.
- Hawryluk, Lynda. 2021. “Surfing with Shivers: The Gothic Far North Coast in Poetry.” In Nigel Krauth, Sally Breen, Tim Baker and Jake Sandtner (Eds.) Creative writing and surfing. TEXT Special Issue 65. https://doi.org/10.52086/001c.28067.
- Lavery, Charne and Samuelson, Meg. 2019. “Literature sheds light on the history and mystery of the Southern Ocean.” The Conversation. 6 October, 2019. https://theconversation.com/literature-sheds-light-on-the-history-and-mystery-of-the-southern-ocean-122664 (This article in The Conversation outlines Lavery and Samuelson’s idea of the “oceanic south” and includes a link to their extended refereed journal article about it, optional for those who wish to read more).
- Samuelson, Meg. 2017. “Coastal Form: Amphibian Positions, Wider Worlds, and Planetary Horizons on the African IndianOcean Littoral.” Comparative Literature, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 16-24.
- Hawryluk, Lynda. 2020. “Exploring Australian Coastal Gothic: Poetry and Place.” In Writing the Australian Beach: Local Site, Global Idea. Springer International, pp. 91-107. (This essay is referenced in Hawryluk’s “Surfing with Shivers”)
Optional related short film clips re Ryan and Ellison, and Hawryluk essays:
- Long Weekend (d. Colin Eggleston 1978):
- Official trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPeXQZ6irUk
- Excerpt “The Dugong Won’t Die” plus curator’s notes and synopsis https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/long-weekend-dugong-wont-die
- Optional: full movie on youtube Grindhouse Classics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B4jGS0vbE8 (1hr 38 mins)
- The Last Wave (d. Peter Weir 1977):
- Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKvuUDBHipE
- Curator’s notes from the National Film and Sound Archive: https://aso.gov.au/titles/features/the-last-wave/
GOTHIC TOURISM & THE BRITISH SEA-SIDE RESORT
Chaired by Dr Madeline Potter
- Read Chapter 13 of A.S. Byatt’s Possession.
- Read Silvia Granata’s ‘“Let us hasten to the beach” Victorian Tourism and Seaside Collecting”.
- Read Sarah Ditum’s piece in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/17/i-do-like-to-be-beside-the-seaside-many-of-our-coastal-towns-need-more-love
- Watch ‘Whitby Gothic Style’ the Whitby Goth Festival parody of Gangnam Style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_NqVd5Wqv0
- Check out this exhibition at the Atkinson Museum, organised by Michelle Cashin, an MA student at Edge Hill University: https://www.theatkinson.co.uk/exhibition/southport-victorian-visitors/
- Read John Urry’s chapter ‘Mass Tourism and the Rise and Fall of the of the Seaside Resort’ (from The Tourist Gaze) https://www.uvm.edu/rsenr/rm230/Urry%20Chap.2.PDF
The Aquatic Hybrid
Chaired by Fredrik Blanc
- Helen Rozwadowski’s article ‘“Bringing Humanity Full Circle Back into the Sea”: Homo aquaticus, Evolution, and the Ocean’ in Environmental Humanities, 14(1) pp. 1–28, 2022. Open access online here: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/14/1/1/294334/Bringing-Humanity-Full-Circle-Back-into-the-Sea?searchresult=1
- L.D. Mattson and Jeremy Gordon’s article ‘Becoming Mutant: Metamorphoses for a Waterworld’ in Environmental Humanities, 14(1) pp. 29–48, 2022. Open access online: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/14/1/29/294313/Becoming-MutantMetamorphoses-for-a-Waterworld
- A short Extract from China Miéville’s novel The Scar (Macmillan, 2002).
- The song “The Deep” by clipping. available on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT1ujfuXFVo
- Mira Grant’s novel Rolling in the Deep, 2015.
- Solomon, R. and Diggs, D., Hutson, William, Snipes, Jonathan’s novel The Deep, 2020.
- Cristina Bacchilega and Marie Alohalani Brown (eds.) ‘Introduction’ in The Penguin Book of Mermaids, 2019.
Chaired by Dr Giulia Champion
In May, we focus on the theme of Seaweed in relation to the Haunted Shores Network 2022 Conference on the same theme, consider joining us on Friday 20th May for the online conference, which promises to be extremely exciting. See more details about the conference here: https://haunted-shores.com/haunted-shores-2022-seaweed/, everyone is welcome and registration is free but mandatory.
- Please read Melody Jue’s chapter “The Media of Seaweed: Between Kelp Forest and Archive” in Saturation: An Elemental Politics (ed by Melody Jue and Rafico Ruiz, De Gruyter, 2021).
- Please read Anthony Trollope’s short story “Malachi’s Cove” (1864), available online here: http://victorian-studies.net/love-stories-trollope.pdf
- If possible and available to you, please watch the first episode of the 2019 TV adaptation of the DC Comic Graphic Novel The Swamp Thing, available on Amazon Prime UK or on Youtube. (This may be available on different streaming services depending on your location).
If you can please read the introduction (10 pages) of Elizabeth Parker’s book The Forest and the EcoGothic: The Deep Dark Woods in the Popular Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) thinking about how issues of EcoGothic and the depiction of the Wood can be translated to “underwater forests” such as Kelp Forest or bodies of seaweed including the sargassum weed in the Caribbean sea for instance.
CRIME & THE NAUTICAL GOTHIC
Chaired by Dr Dorka Tamás
In April, we continue our journey focusing on the theme of “Crime and the Nautical Gothic”, considering cultural productions engaging with Pirates and Maritime Criminality.
- Please watch the following clips from the TV Series Ozark, available on Netflix https://www.netflix.com/search?q=ozark&jbv=80117552:
- Drug dealing and the lake: Season 1 Episode 5 from 50:00 until the end (approximately 3 minutes)
- Murder on the lake: Season 1 Episode 9 from 47:20 to 51:00
- Corruption and violence on the lake: Season 3 Episode 1 from 6:00 to 7:30 and 53:15 to 54:20
- Please Read “The Florida Pirate” (1821) by John Howison, available online: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1046&context=early_visions_bucket – TRIGGER WARNING: Please note that this text contains graphic descriptions and violent language.
- Please Check out the Interpol website on Maritime crime available here: https://www.interpol.int/Crimes/Maritime-crime/The-issues.
- Please look at a video clip from Peter Pan (1953): “A Pirate’s Life & The Elegant Captain Hook”, available here on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBFy2fQpHzg&t=16s.
If you have more time, please consider reading “John Howison’s New Gothic Nationalism and Transatlantic Exchange” (2008) by Gretchen Woertendyke.
THE SEA AS A HEALING SPACE
Chaired by Roslyn Irving
In March, we will continue our coastal exploration with a session on “The Sea as a Healing Space”. This will draw on Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, a 19th-century archival text, an interdisciplinary publication on how nature is ‘prescribed’, and reflections on the exchange between the health of the oceans and medicines. Our aim is to consider why the coast becomes a remedial space, and how this connection between the sea, health, life, and death is inherently gothic.
- Extracts from the third volume of Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest.
- A short extract from Charteris’ Guide to Health and the Coast.
- Bell, S.L., Leyshon, C., Foley, R., and Kearns, R.A. article entitled “The “healthy dose” of nature: A cautionary tale.” Geography Compass. 2019; 13:e12415. This can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12415.
- Please also watch this short video if you have the time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f603V2hnug.
GLOBAL COASTAL GOTHIC
Chaired by Alannah Hernandez
In February, we begin our journey focusing on the theme of “Global Coastal Gothic”, considering cultural productions from Ireland and the Caribbean and Emily Alder’s “Through Oceans Darkly: Sea Literature and the Nautical Gothic” (2017). Our aim is to consider transatlantic hauntings and labour as well as shared colonial histories.
- Please read Emily Alder’s article “Through Oceans Darkly: Sea Literature and the Nautical Gothic” (2017), available here: https://www.napier.ac.uk/~/media/worktribe/output-1000395/through-oceans-darkly-sea-literature-and-the-nautical-gothic.pdf.
- Derek Walcott’s poems “The Sea is History” (1979) and “The Schooner Flight” (1979).
- If you can, please watch the movie Sea Fever (2019). More information here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2716382/.
Following the October meeting on Dracula, we will continue our discussion on shipwrecks and coastal gothic, but move south for a session on Cornish Coastal Gothic. In this session, we will read an excerpt from Dr Joan Passey’s doctoral chapter to be published in her forthcoming monograph Cornish Gothic, 1840-1913 with University of Wales Press, a tale she curated and edited for the Cornish Horrors: Tales from the Land’s End collection with the British Library’s “Tales of the Weird” series, and a song. All these texts intersect around themes of the coastal gothic, shipwrecks, sailors and fishermen, as well as the tourism industry in Cornwall.
- Please read the excerpt from Dr Joan Passey’s Chapter: ‘“Let us catch the sea-wolves falling on their prey”: Folklore, National Identity, and the Gothic in Cornish Shipwreck Narratives.
- Please read the introduction and E. M. Bray’s tale “A Ghostly Visitation: A True Incident” from the Cornish Horrors: Tales from the Land’s End collection.
- Finally, please listen to the group “Fisherman’s Friends” song “Widow Woman” on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zc1ijbM4a0&ab_channel=SueHendriks
The video provides some background on the song and you can find more details in this article: https://elementsofmadness.com/2020/07/23/fishermans-friends/ and the lyrics here: https://genius.com/Fishermans-friends-widow-woman-lyrics.
Chaired by Dr Madeline Potter
In October we will continue our coastal adventure with a discussion on Dracula Shipwreck. When Dracula arrives in Whitby, he does so on board the Demeter. In a haunting scene, the ship drifts into Whitby Harbour: an apparent ghost ship, with a dead captain, fastened to the wheel, with a look of horror eternally struck on his face. Why have we chosen this iconic scene? We think it’s shaped our Gothic imagination, setting the paths for many explorations of the relationship between the sea as an uncanny space and the vampire as an uncanny creature. We also believe it is so jarring because it taps into some very fundamental human fears, which we will explore during our group. Finally, it is one of the scenes which has made Gothic tourism in Whitby so popular, showing us how literature has the potential to impact the world we live in.
- Chapter VII of Bram Stoker’s Dracula: the novel is accessible for free on Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/345/345-h/345-h.htm.
- Watch the Nosferatu death ship scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5IgS56arSo.
- If people have access to the 1931 Bela Lugosi adaptation of Dracula, watch the section between 18:14 and 21:23 (I think timings might vary slightly, but it’s basically from when ‘Aboard the Vesta — bound for England’ comes on screen, up to the newspaper clipping ‘Late London Edition’); This can be shown during the reading group if people struggled to access it.
- If you have Netflix, it would be interesting to watch the beginning of Dracula (BBC, 2020), Season 1, Ep. 3, from 2:04 to 9:31.
- Read Emily Alder’s essay ‘Dracula’s Ghost Ship’, available here: https://irishgothichorror.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/issue15-emilyalder-draculasgothicship.pdf.
- While this is yet to be released, take a look at this adaptation which is currently in production: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001520/.
- See also the illustration by John Coulthart of Dracula portraying the Demeter as it approaches Whitby Harbour to consider alongside the readings.