2021 Conference Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Stranger Worlds: H. G. Wells, Transgression and the Gothic 

Saturday, 13 November 2021  

There you touch the inmost mystery of these dreamers, these men of vision and the imagination. We see our world fair and common … By our daylight standard he walked out of security into darkness, danger and death. But did he see like that?

H.G. Wells, The Door in the Wall

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Wells’s death. In a career that spanned fifty years and over a hundred books, Wells invited his readers to step across the threshold of human consciousness and to venture into realms beyond space, time and morality. His scientific romances expose the fragility of the human body and the thinness of humanity’s separation from the animal (The Time MachineThe Island of Doctor Moreau). A reviewer of The Time Machine felt that Wells’s imagination was ‘as gruesome as that of Poe’ and his short stories often dramatize gothic transgressions between the living and the dead. Later works such as The Croquet Player and The Camford Visitation see consciousness slipping its moorings and inhabiting or possessing other bodies.     

Once considered an annexe or niche in literary studies, the Gothic is now firmly established as a key mode of understanding research in, and the enormous global popularity of, genres such as horror, science fiction and fantasy. We invite applications for papers that consider the importance of the Gothic in the work of H. G. Wells. Papers need not be exclusively confined to Wells, but may also consider Wells’s gothic afterlife, reception and influence.  

Presentations will take the form of 20-minute papers, given via Zoom.   

Topics may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Wells and Gothic genres and his relationship to his Gothic predecessors including Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mary Shelley 
  • Wells’s use of horror and terror in for instance, The War of the Worlds
  • Gothic bodies; the Gothic across species  
  • Gothic geographies  
  • Returns from the dead; buried secrets; Gothic histories  
  • Ghosts, monsters, apparitions and vampires  
  • Transgressive behaviour and crime in Wells’s work
  • Wellsian afterlives in science fiction, the graphic novel, cinema, TV, and computer games  

Please send a 250-word abstract to Dr Emelyne Godfrey juststruckone@hotmail.com by 1 October 2021.

Members: Free

Non-members: £10 Applicants will be notified by 31 August 2021. We encourage attendees to become members of the H.G. Wells Society and look forward to seeing you there.