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Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture

Fiction and the Supernatural

Professor John Mullan

From Horace Walpole to Ann Radcliffe, renegade novelists of the eighteenth century wanted to claim back the supernatural for fiction and so invented the Gothic Novel. 

This lecture pursues the gift of Gothic to later novelists, seeing how great Victorian novelists like Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens were entranced by the supernatural. Finally, it looks at how the possibility of supernatural explanation energises contemporary novelists like Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters.


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John is Visiting Gresham Professor of English Literature.

He is the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and is at present writing the volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784.

John is a regular TV and radio broadcaster and a literary journalist; he writes on contemporary fiction for the Guardian and was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

Professor Mullan was appointed Visiting Gresham Professor of English Literature for 2020/21.

In his first lecture series for Gresham College, Visiting Professor John Mullan will combine his scholarly expertise in the history of the English novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with his interest in contemporary fiction. 

Professor Mullan's lecture series is as follows:

2020/21 The Powers of the Novel

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