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MC: Dale Townshend: Guests, Hosts, Ghosts: Towards an Ethics of Gothic Writing

When Jun 30, 2015
from 10:00 to 02:00
Where Phil I, Building B, R. 29
Contact Name
Contact Phone (+49) 0641 99 30055
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Guests, Hosts, Ghosts: Towards an Ethics of Gothic Writing

Dale Townshend, University of Stirling

There would be no hospitality without the chance of spectrality.
~ Jacques Derrida, Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas


‘I suppose that every big hotel has got its ghosts’
~Jack Torrance, in Stephen King, The Shining


This master-class explores the possibilities of an ethics of Gothic writing through Jacques Derrida’s later work on hospitality.  Divided into three sections, the class will comprise a formal lecture on the ethics of hospitality as advanced by Derrida in such works as Specters of Marx, Of Hospitality, Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas and a number of shorter essays; a lecture-based survey of the possible applications of Derrida’s theories to a selection of Gothic texts, from the eighteenth century to the present day, including Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796), Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1871), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Robert Bloch’s Psycho (1959) and Stephen King’s The Shining (1977); and a collaborative, discussion-based workshop devoted to the application of the theoretical and literary-historical insights gleaned in the first two sections of the master-class to a reading of Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger (2009).

In addition to having read the provided copy of Waters’s novel, participants might, by way of preparation, like to familiarise themselves with Derrida’s short and accessible Of Hospitality, as well as reacquaint themselves with Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


Please note: Dale Townshend has kindly and generously provided free copies of Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger (2009) for the participants of his master class. The novels are distributed on a ‘first come, first served’-basis. Once you’ve registered successfully (and, please, only then!), you can get your free copy in the offices of either Ann Van de Veire or the IPP team. Thanks.



Dale Townshend is Senior Lecturer in Gothic and Romantic Literature at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and Director of the MLitt in The Gothic Imagination.  In the field of Gothic studies, his most recent publications include The Gothic World (Routledge, 2014; with Glennis Byron); Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (Cambridge University Press, 2014; with Angela Wright); Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination (British Library, 2014); and Romantic Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh University Press, 2015; with Angela Wright).  The recipient of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (June 2015—December 2016), he is currently working on a project entitled Writing Britain’s Ruins, 1700—1850: The Architectural Imagination.  

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