Lancaster academic’s Happy Gothic book wins top award

Professor Catherine Spooner and the cover of her Post Millenial Gothic book

A book about the rise of Happy Gothic, written by a member of Lancaster’s Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, has been recognised by an international award.

Professor Catherine Spooner’s ‘Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic’ has won the Allan Lloyd Smith Memorial Prize, awarded biennially by the International Gothic Association to a scholarly publication that significantly advances the field of Gothic Studies.

‘Post-Millennial Gothic’ identifies a surprising and counter-intuitive shift in cultural tastes around the end of the millennium, in which conventionally Gothic imagery becomes fused with comedy and romance, resulting in a tone of lightness and celebration.

Covering a range of media, objects and practices from literature and film to fashion, advertising, subcultural performance, television, tourism and children’s toys, the book expands the range of what can be considered ‘Gothic’ and, in doing so, celebrates the tastes of frequently devalued female, youthful and queer-identified audiences.

The judges described Professor Spooner’s book as ‘paradigm-shifting’, ‘an important intervention’ and ‘extraordinarily wide-ranging and ambitious’.

“The prize means a lot to me because the International Gothic Association is the foremost academic organisation in my field and has provided a supportive scholarly community since my days as a PhD student,” said Professor Spooner.

“However, the book was also very much shaped by my experiences teaching Gothic at Lancaster and discussions with my own MA and PhD students – it is wonderful to be part of an ongoing intellectual conversation.”

‘Post-Millennial Gothic’ is published by Bloomsbury Academic and was an outcome of a nine-month Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Fellowship.

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