William Hughes

Personal statement

Bill Hughes is Professor of Medical Humanities and Gothic Literature at Bath Spa University, an immediate Past President of the International Gothic Association, founder editor of the internationally refereed journal 'Gothic Studies', a prominent member of the editorial board of Manchester University Press's International Gothic Series and one of the two editors of the Edinburgh University Press Companions series. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the University of Macau, where he is one of the recipients of a research grant supporting enhanced public access to manuscript resources connected with Bram Stoker and his theatrical and literary associates.

Professor Hughes's seventeen published books include 'Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker's Fiction and its Cultural Context' (2000), 'Bram Stoker: A Bibliography' (1997), an annotated edition of Stoker's faux vampire novel 'The Lady of the Shroud' (2001) and an annotated student edition of 'Dracula' (2007), Reader's Guides to 'Dracula' for Palgrave(2009) and Continuum (2009) and 'The Historical Dictionary of Gothic Literature' (2013). 'That Devil's Trick: Hypnotism and the Victorian Popular Imagination' (Manchester University Press) was published in January 2015. He is at present writing a second monograph on phrenology, and a third (on funerary technology) is at the planning stage. He is also currently writing a further critical guide on Gothic criticism for Edinburgh University Press.

With Andrew Smith (University of Sheffield) he has co-edited several important volumes of Gothic criticism: 'Bram Stoker: History, Psychoanalysis and the Gothic'; 'Empire and the Gothic: The Politics of Genre'; 'Queering the Gothic', and 'Fictions of Unease: The Gothic from Otranto to The X-Files' (with Andrew Smith and Diane Mason). The second and revised edition of his 'Bram Stoker: A Bibliography' was published in 2004, the original work being supplemented with new introductory essays and additional material by Richard Dalby. Recent co-edited publications include 'The Victorian Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion', edited by Andrew Smith and William Hughes (2012; paperback 2014), the authoritative two-volume 'Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gothic', edited by William Hughes, Andrew Smith and David Punter (University of Bristol) and 'EcoGothic', edited with Andrew Smith for Manchester University Press (2013).

Professor Hughes's undergraduate teaching is informed by this research, with specialist modules including 'Gothic Origins and Innovations' and 'Gothic Revivals'. He has supervised 3 doctoral candidates to successful submission: the first of these, Steve Hunt, researched ecocriticism, Romanticism and the scientific gaze upon nature; the second, Diane Mason, was the recipient of a major state studentship from the AHRB and wrote a dissertation upon the representation and implications of masturbation in Victorian fiction and medical culture. The dissertation has now been published as 'The Secret Vice: Masturbation in Victorian Fiction and Medical Culture' by Manchester University Press (2008).

As a research supervisor, Professor Hughes is interested in hearing from graduates wishing to pursue research under his supervision in nineteenth and twentieth century Gothic generally, and in Stoker and his circle in particular. Within these broad areas, the following topics may be of specific interest: Victorian and contemporary vampire narratives (including the connections between vampirism, disease, social/environmental collapse and apocalypse); medical history and the Gothic body; homosexuality and masculinity; imperial Gothic fictions (particularly Kipling); the work of twentieth-century and twentieth-century Gothic (and Gothic-influenced) authors, particularly Algernon Blackwood, L. T. C. Rolt, Mo Hayder, and Poppy Z. Brite.

Professor Hughes is also an experienced external examiner for undergraduate and graduate programmes, and is currently external for an MA at the University of Sunderland and the BA in English at the University of Ulster. in recent years he has acted as external examiner to Gothic-related PhD and MPhil dissertations at UEA Norwich, Aberdeen University, the University of Bristol and Trinity College Dublin.

Academic qualifications

  • BA University of East Anglia
  • MA University of East Anglia
  • PhD University of East Anglia
  • PGCE University of Kent at Canterbury
  • DLitt University of East Anglia (in progress)
  • FRHistS By election
  • FHEA By application.

Professional qualifications

  • FRHistS (from June 2015)
  • ILTM (from October 2002)
  • FHEA (from March 2007).

Other external roles

External auditing/review: 

  • External Examiner for the MA English Studies, University of Sunderland. from September 2013
  • External advisor for the revalidation of undergraduate English (BA Honours, Major, Main and Minor) at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, on 30 April 2013
  • External advisor for the validation of the proposed MA/PgDip in Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, on 30 April 2013
  • External advisor for the validation of BA (Hons) English, BA (Hons) Creative Writing and BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing at University College Falmouth, 23 March 2012
  • External advisor for the validation of the MA Popular Culture, University of Hull, 2008
  • External Examiner, English with Media Studies, University College Falmouth, 2003-6
  • External examiner for revalidation of BA Media/English at Falmouth College of Art, 2000
  • External advisor for the validation of an undergraduate module on the Fin de Siecle at Liverpool Hope University, 1999.

International academic committees, working groups, etc:

  • Editorial Advisory Board, "Gothic Studies"
  • Managing Board, International Gothic Association
  • Joint-President, International Gothic Association 2009-2011; re-elected 2011-2013. 

Media contributions:

  • Radio programme for the BBC World Service in 1997 (Chinese Service) on Stoker and the Gothic (broadcast following translation)
  • Prime-time interviews on BBC Radio Wiltshire and BBC Radio Swindon on 31 October 2007
  • Specialist contributor to Antix TV/Living TV "Most Haunted Live" from Transylvania, 23-25 February 2007
  • Specialist contributor to Antix TV/Living TV "Most Haunted Live" from Liverpool, 15 January 2008
  • Specialist contributor to "Tony Robinson's Superstitions", Wildfire Productions/Channel 4 TV, broadcast Autumn 2011. 


  • Reader for Manchester University Press
  • Reader for Palgrave (formerly Macmillan)
  • Reader for Broadview Press
  • Reader for University of Wales Press
  • Editorial Board, International Gothic Series (Manchester University Press)
  • Editorial Board, Edinburgh Companions Series (Edinburgh University Press).

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Joint-President of the International Gothic Association (2009-2013)
  • Founder member and former Secretary, International Gothic Association
  • British Association for Victorian Studies
  • The Bram Stoker Society
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Gothic Studies
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Le Fanu Studies
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Dissections
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Literature and Science
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Asian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Contemporary Literature.

Areas of expertise

The writings of Bram Stoker; nineteenth century Gothic fiction (particularly Stoker and Le Fanu); Modern Gothic (particularly Poppy Z Brite and Queer vampires); Victorian medicine; the cultures of Victorian gentlemanliness, especially in relation to the field sports of hunting and shooting; Freemasonry and literature; nineteenth century studies generally.

I would be interested in hearing from potential research students wishing to work in any of the above fields.

Current scholarships

Plenaries in 2014:

  • Talking Heads:Reconfiguring Post-mortem Testimony in the Ghost Story, 19 June 2014
  • Bram Stoker’s Visions of Ireland, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 17 March 2014

Plenaries in 2013:

  • Guided by augury, and magic, and superstition: The Theology of Bram Stoker's 'The Jewel of Seven Stars', Visions of Egypt, University of Hull, 6-7 September 2013
  • 'The same, awful waxen pallor': Physiology and Vampirism in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Spectral Visions, University of Sunderland, 21 June 2013.

In 2012 I was an invited plenary speaker at three events, held to commemorate the centenary of the death of Bram Stoker. The first of these was held at Keats's House in London; the second at Trinity College Dublin; the third at the University of Hull.

I was the keynote speaker at "Haunted Men: Masculinity in the Ghost Stories of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras" at University College Falmouth in 2011. I was also a participant in the 2011 International Gothic Conference at the University of Heidelberg.

I was an invited plenary speaker at 'The Novel in the Twenty-First Century: Text and Context" at the University of Allahabad, India, in late November 2010, where I delivered a paper entitled "Dickensian Bliss: The Understated Victorian Stylistics of Contemporary British Crime Fiction".

I was a keynote speaker at Dracula: Colloque International, Les themes Victoriens \ Les pratiques postmodernes: Dracula de Bram Stoker et de Francis Ford Coppola, Universite Nancy 2, 20-21 January 2006. I also delivered a keynote address on the medical contexts of Stoker's fiction at The Centre for Irish Studies of the University of Lille, as part of a week-long cultural event entitled "Dracula: a European myth" (November 29th to December 4th 2004) within the "Lille 2004 European capital of culture" programme.

Beyond formal academia, I delivered a lecture entitled 'Vathek - A Gothic Journey to the Orient' at Beckford's Tower, Lansdown, Bath, at the invitation of the Bath Preservation Trust in 2006, and a lecture on the Gothic revival from Walpole to Pugin at Woodchester Mansion, for the Chartered Institute of Building. I delivered a second paper, on Beckford, to the CIB at Beckford's tower in late 2009. In 2010 I was a speaker at both the Swindon Festival of Literature and at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath.

I have also led workshops on the Gothic for sixth-form pupils at Prior Park College and Wells Cathedral School.

Television and radio:

I was a specialist contributor to "Most Haunted Live, broadcast from Liverpool's St George's Hall on the evening of 15 January 2008, where I was interviewed on the subject of incubi and succubi. Other work with Most Haunted Live has included on-air interviews and research consultancy, most notably in connection with a live broadcast from Transylvania.

As well as live interviews on local radio and Southern California Public Radio, I have been recorded for programmes broadcast on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, most recently as a contributor to "Questions, Questions".

I was also a consultant to (and a cameo actor in) the first programme in the recent television series, "Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters', broadcast on Channel 4 in late 2011.

External examiners

I have acted as an external examiner at MPhil and PhD level at UEA Norwich (2003 and 2006), University of Aberdeen (2005), University of Bristol (2010 and 2014), and the University of Dublin (2016). I am also an experienced internal examiner and have been trained as an Independent Chair for viva voces and interviews. 

I have acted as an external examiner for undergraduate English programmes at Falmouth University (2002-2006) and the University of Ulster (from 2014). I am external examiner for the MA in English Studies at the University of Sunderland (from 2013).

I have also been an external panel member for the validation or revalidation of undergraduate programmes at Liverpool Hope University (1999), Falmouth University (2012) and the University of Ulster (2013), and for taught master's programmes at the University of Hull (2010) and the University of Ulster (2013).

Recent professional updating

The conference activity detailed above supports my teaching at all levels, and ensures that BSU students may access the current debate in Gothic studies particularly. My work with the International Gothic Association is informed by the needs of my students as well as those of the research community, and the bi-annual conference remains the only regular gathering of those who both teach and publish in this vibrant area of literary and cultural studies.

Beyond this, I maintain a rewarding contact with colleagues in France in particular, where "Dracula" has until recently been a required text on the Aggregation, with one of my own critical works (published in a bi-lingual volume) being a recommended reading. In January 2006 I spoke at a conference at the Universite Nancy 2, and also chaired a pedagogical panel concerning the impact of Dracula's inclusion in the Aggregation. I have also delivered papers on Stoker's writings at Lille and in Paris, and have co-convened Gothic panels at ESSE in Strasbourg and Zaragoza. I have also chaired panels and delivered a plenary lecture as an invited speaker at the University of Allahabad, India.

With regard to work with BSU undergraduate and graduate students specifically, I have attended many training events, including regular staff development activities in connection with the Wessex Partnership of FE Colleges and training events connected with the management of research degrees. I was one of the first members of faculty to undertake formal training as an Independent Chair for PhD vivas.

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