Gothic Sounds of the 1790s seminar with Emma McEvoy, Feb 19th 2020

Wednesday 19th February, 5.00-7.00 pm
UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Gothic Sounds of the 1790s
Emma McEvoy (University of Westminster) 

Gothic novels of the 1790s tend to be noisy affairs, filled with references to sounds and music. They are punctuated by echoing footsteps, thunder and distant screams. Heroines play the lyre and harp, monks chant, peasants pipe and dance, heroes might even serenade (though this turns out to be a morally suspect practice). This unprecedented attention to sound stems from the Gothic novel’s close relationship to theatre. In this paper, Emma McEvoy will argue that we need to learn to hear the Gothic novels of the 1790s. She will look at the part played by music and sound in a number of works of the period and identify the influential, but contrasting, approaches to sound in the novels of Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis. Whereas Radcliffe constructs something that might be said to resemble a soundscape, Lewis’s novel structures itself through a soundtrack. Finally, in an attempt to recover the lost aural dimension of these texts, Emma will bring along excerpts from the Gothic musical theatre of the period to listen to. Expect to hear works by Thomas Busby, Lewis’s collaborator, the Irish tenor Michael Kelly, and Lewis himself.

Emma McEvoy is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Westminster. She is author of Gothic Tourism (Palgrave 2015) and co-editor (with Catherine Spooner) of the Routledge Companion to Gothic (2007). She also wrote the introduction and notes for the Oxford World Classics edition of Matthew Lewis’s The Monk.

All welcome, but guests from outside Westminster should RSVP Frankie Hines: OR Baptiste Danel:

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