Special Issue of Humanities: Legacy of Gothic Tradition in Horror Fiction

Due Date: 11-30-2023

The phrase “gothic tradition” often evokes images of isolated castles, stormy weather, distressed heroines, plotting villains, ghosts, family secrets, secret passageways, and heroes with excellent timing. Many think of Horace Walpole’s eighteenth-century The Castle of Otranto (1764) as the beginning of gothic, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis as popularizing and defining the genre, and Charles Robert Maturin as writing “the last” of the gothic novels, Melmoth the Wanderer (1820).

However, as indicated in the title of this special issue, the gothic tradition continues; it passed along its legacy to many creative talents who have produced works into the present day. This issue will focus upon gothic’s influence in horror fiction.

Please consider submitting a proposal for an essay that explores one of the many possible avenues of gothic’s presence within horror fiction. Like gothic and its influence, the range of subjects that may be examined is extensive, and this issue hopes to demonstrate this diversity in its publications.

What ideas for an essay occurred as you read this CFP? Did a particular horror text come to mind? How was it influenced by the gothic tradition? Why would this influence be important? Are the influences literary? Cultural? Pivotal or groundbreaking? Are there consistent gothic elements that seem to be essential to a horror author, time period, place, or culture? Why are these gothic elements significant? Is the “text” a film or television production inspired by fiction? What do these visual representations of horror fiction convey about gothic to their audiences? How does the gothic tradition appear in your teaching of horror fiction or a visual adaptation of a text? Why is it important for students to learn about the gothic tradition within horror?

These are only a few of the many questions that may be investigated surrounding the legacy of the gothic tradition in horror fiction. Please send a 500-word abstract with a short bibliography to Sharon M. Gallagher at by 30 November 2023. Finished essays of 5,000–6,000 words (not including bibliographic information) will be due by 31 May 2024. For more information, visit