‘The Haunted House in French Culture’, London 19 May

Posted by Matt Foley on April 22, 2016 in Blog, News tagged with , ,

The Haunted House in French Culture

Haunted house

19 May 2016
Room 243, Senate House, University of London
Malet Street, London WC1 7HU


The haunted house is a significant Gothic motif in literature, film and television. It can be understood as the domestication of the Gothic, as the older concept of the aristocratic ancestral home becomes more diluted, more nuanced, by the rise of the bourgeois family. The haunted house comes to represent a variety of thematic concepts: it can be read as revealing the fault lines of gender, sexuality and class, as symbolic of hidden trauma, or it can be interpreted in terms of national history. Such thematic concerns may nonetheless neglect other considerations such as the pleasure we take in haunted house narratives, the expectations of genre and challenges to such expectations, and indeed the very familiarity of this uncanny building.


Many of our traditional perceptions of the haunted house derive most obviously from Anglophone texts on horror and the Gothic. French culture has traditionally eschewed thinking in terms of horror and the Gothic, yet French Gothic scholar Angela Wright has pointed to the debt owed to French literary tradition by British Gothic, while as Xavier Aldana Reyes has noted, horror and the Gothic thread themselves through French cinema almost unnoticed.


The proposed event is an opportunity to explore French Gothic and horror through the prism of the haunted house. The event, in partnership between the Institute for Modern Languages Research, London and the University of Stirling, Scotland, is part of a wider project to consider the haunted house and its role in the horror and Gothic of different cultures.


The speakers will be Guy Austin, University of Newcastle and Fanny Lacôte, University of Stirling.


Attendance is free but advance registration by 11 May 2016 is advised. For registration and more information, please go to: http://www.sas.ac.uk/support-research/public-events/2016/haunted-house-french-culture.

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