Edge Hill Student Reporter Investigates Gothic Haunted Houses

English Literature student Lauren Findlay reports on the latest Gothic literature events from Speke Hall, Liverpool.


In partnership with their ‘Romance and Revival: the Gothic at Speke Hall’ feature, Speke Hall have partnered with Manchester Metropolitan University to deliver a series of lectures on the Victorian Gothic. The lectures, running until July 5th, explore different aspect of the Gothic in Victorian literature including Gothic interiors, Gothic acoustics, and the poetics of Gothic space.

The lecture I attended on Thursday 1st March entitled ‘The Haunted House: Ghost Stories by Victorian Women Writers’ was delivered by MMU’s Dr Emma Liggins, focusing on female writers and their mode of Gothic writing. In the opening of her lecture, Liggins quoted famous US abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, who called Speke Hall a ‘standing romance’ when she visited in 1853. Stowe’s quote created a link between the Hall and the other literary haunted houses in the lecture. Liggins also drew on the context of the Gothic in the Victorian era, linking the rise in Gothic fiction to fluctuating religious beliefs, a fascination with spiritualism, and the Victorian cult of mourning.

Liggins stressed that this form of the Gothic drew on Victorian concerns about, and had a particular resonance for, women. Drawing on critics such as Kate Krueger and the idea that Victorian women writers used everyday, ‘normative spaces as sites of crisis’, Liggins discussed the relationship between women and the Gothic. Women, she argued, were often associated with insanity and the uncanny, making them a form of ghost, either invisible in Victorian culture or becoming a more threatening power.

Beyond the lecture itself a meal was served to the guests beforehand in the Hall’s restaurant and the lecture was followed by a discussion with Dr Liggins and the attendees about the importance and the limitations of the ‘female Gothic’.

As a literature student studying Late-Victorian Gothic, I found the connection between women writers and the haunted house to be of particular significance for my own interests in Gothic fiction. Speke Hall’s series of talks offers a great opportunity to think about the relationship between authors, characters and the Gothic spaces they interact with.


Careers Awards Evening – Success for English Literature Student!

The Department of English, History, and Creative Writing is delighted that second year English Literature student, Kashmiri Rajcoomar won 3rd prize in the hotly contested ‘Student Employee of the Year’ category. Kashmiri was nominated by Laura Eastlake and Andrew McInnes for her outstanding contributions at Open Days and Applicant Visit Days. Kashmiri acts as an excellent role model to prospective students, discussing her studies with enthusiasm and intelligence and offering students and parents insights into life on a safe and secure, lively and happy campus. She also takes an active role in the Open Day presentation, describing her time at Edge Hill and the supportive ethos of staff in charismatic and convincing ways. We say: congratulations on her award, and thank you for all her hard work!

Third Year Literature Students Visit the Bronte Parsonage at Haworth

On Monday 19th February a group of third years students studying the Victorian novel visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth. The parsonage was the home of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte and the place where they wrote their most famous works including Jane Eyre (1847), Wuthering Heights (1847) and the lesser-known text which students have been studying this semester, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)

Having braved the somewhat ‘wuthering’ conditions on the moors on the bus journey, students got to see the house as it would have been furnished when the Bronte family lived in it, as well as having time to explore the many bookshops, chocolate shops, and cafes in Haworth village.

Creative Writing and English Literature student Eve Gould said that ‘By coming here and seeing the rooms while you study the novels, you can see objects which are mentioned in the books and which might not be as you had imagined. In the exhibition room there’s a stained glass window which is described in Shirley.’

‘Those windows would be seen by daylight to be of brilliantly-stained glass, purple and amber the predominant hues, glittering round a gravely-tinted medallion in the centre of each, representing the suave head of William Shakespeare, and the serene one of John Milton.’ – Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (1849)

Third year student Emma Walsh said ‘Trips like this really help you get a feel for the things being described. Obviously the Brontes are talking about fictional houses in their novels, but even just getting a feel for the atmosphere of the place and walking in with the weather, you understand their descriptions much better, like how hard it must have been to keep the damp out of everything … Having said that, I expected a bigger, posher house and the rooms are quite small. I also thought it would be quite isolated like Wuthering Heights, but it’s in the middle of everything in the village.’

Third Year students Imane Chelli Amiri, Emma Walsh, and Eve Gould


Public Event: Suffragette Symposium 28th February 2018

The Wonder Women Campaign: 
‘100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote’
Suffragette Symposium

Wednesday 28th February 2018
The Tech Hub, Edge Hill University
2.00pm – 9.00pm

Register Here

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the UK, GenSex and the Institute for Creative Enterprise present the Suffragette Symposium which will examine the progress that has been made since the 1918 ‘Representation of the People Act’.

Edge Hill University was the first non-denominational teacher training college for women, founded as an institution which broke traditional barriers for women and promoted women’s rights. Academics from an array of disciplines across the University along with external speakers will explore topics around the history of the women’s suffrage movement, the suffragette as a cultural icon and the 21st century representations of suffrage and its ideologies.

The Symposium’s keynote speakers, Mary Talbot, an acclaimed author and scholar, and artist Bryan Talbot will deliver an illustrated presentation of their graphic novel Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (Cape, 2014).

The Symposium will culminate in the screening of the 2015 film Suffragette. Inspired by true events, Suffragette is a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their children and even their lives.

Supported by GenSex and ICE, the Suffragette Symposium is part of a series of events (Wonder Women) that examine the progress that has been made since 1918.  It takes place at Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk Campus.

Edge Hill University Students Join the Global Game Jam 2018

The Global Game Jam 2018 saw fifty Edge Hill University students take part in the worldwide event held annually in January. The challenge was straightforward: conceive, design, develop, and playtest a digital or non-digital game on the theme of transmission.

In forty-eight hours.

Fuelled by enthusiasm, creativity, dedication, pizza and not just a few sugary drinks, students from Computing, Creative Writing and English Literature worked almost non-stop to produce prototypes for board, card,  roleplaying and digital games. Computer games ranged from innovative platformers to challenging side-scrollers, to spaceship management in the face of an on-board plague outbreak and a sub-hunting adventure. Non-digital games included a competitive board game that saw players couriering messages across hostile space, an epic dungeon-crawler, and a comic card game featuring crazy diseases and crazier cures.

Students were joined in their endeavours by keynote speaker, Mike Mason, Line Editor for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, who advised development teams on producing their games.

As well as being a huge amount of fun, the event helped students enhance their creative portfolios, their team-working and management skills, and their enterprise and employability opportunities.

All of the completed games are available to download from the Global Game Jam 2018 website: 


Dr Imogen Marcus’ Book Published by Palgrave

The Linguistics of Spoken Communication in Early Modern English Writing:
Exploring Bess of Hardwick’s Manuscript Letters.

Dr Imogen Marcus, Lecturer in English Language, has published her first monograph. This book, published by Palgrave, uses a corpus of manuscript letters from Bess of Hardwick to investigate how linguistic features characteristic of spoken communication function within early modern epistolary prose. Using these letters as a primary data source with reference to other epistolary materials from the early modern period (1500-1750), the author examines them in a  unique and systematic way. The book is the first of its kind to combine a replicable scribal profiling technique, used to identify holograph and scribal handwriting within the letters, with innovative analyses of the language they contain. Furthermore, by adopting a discourse-analytic approach to the language and making reference to the socio-historical context of language use, the book provides an alternative perspective to the one often presented in traditional historical accounts of English. This volume will appeal to students and scholars of early modern English and historical linguistics.

The book is published by Palgrave and is available in Hardback and eBook.


Call For Papers: Suffragette Symposium

2018 will see Edge Hill University mark, celebrate and explore issues which relate to the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the UK. As part of this programme of events, GenSex and Edge Hill’s Institute of Create Enterprise will host the Suffragette Symposium. We welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers from a diverse range of disciplines, including literature, linguistics, film studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, history, music, fashion, and media. Abstracts are due by 18th December 2017.

For full details, please see the following Call For Papers:

Christopher Pittard on: ‘A Case of Perspective: Sidney Paget’s Visions of Sherlock Holmes

The ‘VICTORIANS at Edge Hill’ seminar was pleased to welcome its third distinguished speaker, Dr Christopher Pittard, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Pittard spoke to students, staff and visitors about his latest research on Sidney Paget, illustrator and creator of some of the most iconic images of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s move to the Strand Magazine in 1891 proved the catalyst for the detective’s popular success. Part of this success was Doyle’s collaboration with the artist Sidney Paget, and the manner in which Paget’s images provided a striking new visual identity for Holmes. Indeed, when Strand readers browsed their copies, the competing narratives presented by the sequence of Paget’s illustrations would have been their initial experience of the stories, later displaced or supplemented by Doyle’s words, a displacement that goes unquestioned in much Holmesian criticism.

Dr Pittard argues that rather than being addenda to Doyle’s texts, Paget’s illustrations play a crucial role in the narratives’ creation of meaning. In a periodical setting which emphasised continuity and resolution, the illustrations set up complex chains of visual repetition between themselves and previous episodes, creating a sense of continuity that helped in turn consolidate a reading community.


Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar Series

Edge Hill’s long-running ‘Ethnicity, Race and Racism Seminar’ series returns this spring. ErRS is an interdisciplinary research hub that explores pressing contemporary questions of race, racism, and ethnicity across time and space. Each year, we run a themed seminar programme and a symposium. Our focus for 2017 is ‘Lived Experiences of Anti-Racism Activism in Europe Since the 1970s’. Everybody is welcome to attend these informal ‘In Conversation’ events. They take place on our Ormskirk campus, with free refreshments.

Spring Programme:

Thursday 16 February

Louisa Zanoun (Former Head of Research, Génériques, Paris-based NGO promoting the history of immigration).
Immigration Activism and Public History in France.
3:00-5:00pm, Hub1

Wednesday 8 March

Peter Tatchell (Human Rights and LGBT Campaigner. Director, The Peter Tatchell Foundation)
From Melbourne to Moscow, From Berlin to Bermondsey: 50 Years of Campaigning for Human Rights, Democracy, LGBT Freedom and Global Justice.
5:00-7:00pm, Creative Edge Lecture Theatre

Wednesday 5 April

Hassan Mahamdallie (Writer and Playwright. Director, The Muslim Institute)
Growing Up In The 1970s: A Personal Account Of How The Fight Against Enoch Powell and the National Front Changed Everything
1:00-2:00pm, PSS015

Wednesday 3 May

Pragna Patel (Author, Feminist and Anti-Racist Campaigner. Founding Member and Director, The Southall Black Sisters)
Gender and the Politics of Anti-Racism in the UK: Then and Now
4:00-6:00pm, B101

Wednesday 7 June

Cathie Lloy(Ex-Vice-President, Mouvement Contre le Racisme et Pour L’Amitié Entre Les Peuples. Former Head of Research, Commission for Racial Equality and Research Fellow, Universities of Warwick and Oxford)
Memoirs Of A Keyboard Warrior
1:00-2:00pm, B005