“Ghostly Fictions: Haunting, Trauma and Time in Contemporary Irish Historical Fiction” is a postdoctoral research project funded by an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (2021-22), headed by Dr. Maria Mulvany. This research is motivated by a desire to expand and test the usefulness of spectrality as an overarching critical frame for exploring questions of unassimilated loss, the ‘encryption’ of individual and societal traumas and their attendant hauntings. It also examines additional sources of narrative spectrality circulating in the Irish imaginary, which, more often than not, are bound to the historical, literary and cultural elision of women, sexuality, and reproduction in the Irish context.

As part of wider research into modes of haunting, this website showcases a small sample of nineteenth century ghost stories by Charlotte Riddell (1832–1906) and Rosa Mulholland (1841–1921) for readers to enjoy. The site also features links to secondary reading and further resources on the gothic fiction of Dorothy Macardle (1889–1958) to further promote engagement with the ghostly Irish fictions of these three writers.

In recent years, the Irish-based publishing presses, Swan River Press and Tramp Press have been hugely important in the recuperation and revival of popular and critical interest in lesser known work by Irish women writers. Brian J. Showers of the Dublin-based Swan River Press has published a wide range of forgotten supernatural, fantastic and gothic fiction written by Irish women in new editions such as Bending to Earth: Strange Stories by Irish Women (2019)Rosa Mulholland’s Not to be Taken at Bed-Time and Other Stories (2019) and  Dorothy Macardle’s Earth Bound and Other Supernatural Tales (2019). As part of their Recovered Voices series, Lisa Coen and Sarah Davis-Goff of Tramp Press have also reissued Charlotte Riddell’s A Struggle for Fame (1883) and Dorothy Macardle’s gothic trilogy The Uninvited (1942); The Unforeseen (1946) and Dark Enchantment (1953). Sinead Gleeson’s series of award-winning anthologies of Irish writing The Long Gaze Back (2015); The Glass Shore (2016) and The Art of the Glimpse (2020) have also served to reinvigorate popular and critical interest in the work of lesser known Irish women writers such as Rosa Mulholland and Charlotte Riddell.

Maria Mulvany is an IRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD.

E: maria.mulvany@ucd.ie

Cover Image: Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels

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