Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible

Spectral Phenomena in Literature and the Media

by Maria Fleischhack (Volume editor) Elmar Schenkel (Volume editor)
©2016 Conference proceedings 170 Pages
Open Access


In this volume, ghost stories are studied in the context of their media, their place in history and geography. From prehistory to this day, we have been haunted by our memories, the past itself, by inklings of the future, by events playing outside our lives, and by ourselves. Hence the lure of ghost stories throughout history and presumably prehistory. Science has been a great destroyer of myth and superstition, but at the same time it has created new black boxes which we are filling with our ghostly imagination. In this book, literature from the Middle Ages to Oscar Wilde and Neil Gaiman, children’s stories, folklore and films, ranging from the Antarctic and Russia to Haiti, are covered and show the continuing presence of spectral phenomena.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Authors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Preface: Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible
  • Medieval Ghosts: the Stories of the Monk of Byland
  • Speaking of Seeing Ghosts: Visions of the Supernatural in the Tales of Catherine Crowe
  • The Ghost of Oscar Wilde: Fictional Representations
  • Ghostly Science or Scientific Ghosts: The Fourth Spatial Dimension in Children’s Literature
  • Carl Gustav Jung and the Ghosts
  • ‘They only see what they wanna see’: Traumatised Ghosts and Ghost Story Conventions in The Sixth Sense and The Others
  • ‘At the Hollow, there was Magic.’ The Language of Kim Newman’s Ghost Novel
  • Neil Gaiman’s Ghost Children
  • The Ghost as a Metaphor for Memory in the Irish Literary Psyche
  • “I Know not who these Mute Folk Are” – Ghostly Houses in Early Twentieth Century English and American Poetry
  • Haunting the Wide, White Page – Ghosts in Antarctica
  • The Loa as Ghosts in Haitian Vodou
  • From Cultural Ghosts to Literary Ghosts – Humanisation of Chinese Ghosts in Chinese Zhiguai
  • Mystic Motifs in Silver Age Poetry and Prose
  • Series Index

Notes on Contributors

DOMINIK BECHER: M.A. at Leipzig University in British Studies, Theatre Studies and Comparative Literature. Ph.D.: Enchanting Children. Magic, Religion and Science in Children’s Literature. Since 2013 coordinator of studium universale, Das Sonntagsgespräch und Kinderuni. Selected Publications: “The Silver Trumpet: Imagination and Philosophy”. Petzold, Dieter (ed.) Inklings Jahrbuch für Literatur und Ästhetik: Owen Barfield – Vision and Revisions. No 24. Frankfurt: Brendow Verlag + Medien, 2006; “Vertraute Magier, Fremde Wissenschaftler. Wissenschaft und Magie in der Kinderliteratur.“ Kinder- und Jugenliteraturforschung 2010/2011. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, 2011; “Metamorphosen des Mythos. Überlegungen zur Figur des Heiligen Kindes in der Fantasy-Literatur für junge Leser.” Günter Gentsch, Reiner Tetzner und Maren Uhlig (eds.). Mythos Kind. Eine mythische und literarische Spurensuche. Leipzig: Edition Vulcanus, 2013.

ELEANOR DOBSON: She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Birmingham researching the relationship between Egyptology and late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century literature and culture.

JOHANNA GRABOW: Johanna Grabow earned a B.A. degree in British Studies and History, as well as an M.A. degree in British Studies from Leipzig University. She is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis which focuses on the reception of Antarctica in contemporary British literature. Besides investigating the sphere of influence of the “Far South,” her research interests include the connection between the sciences and the arts, especially the link between chaos theory and literature (which can be quite a scary topic, too), narrative structures in postmodern literature and forgotten and lost places in literature. Although she has already encountered a number of ghosts on page, she has not met any “in person” yet.

RUTH HEHOLT: Ruth Heholt is senior lecturer in English at Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK. Her research centres around the supernatural, ghosts and the Gothic. She is currently editing a scholarly edition of one of Catherine Crowe’s novels and is editor of the special issue of Victoriographies, March 2014, entitled ‘Haunted Men’. She is founding editor of a new journal on the supernatural: Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural: www.revenantjournal.com.

MAIK HILDEBRANDT: B.A. in British Studies (minor in music) in Leipzig between 2009 and 2012; 2012 to 2013: M.A. program at the University College Cork (Ire ← 7 | 8 → land): “Texts and Contexts: Medieval to Renaissance” (Master Thesis: Apollonius in its Contexts: The Old English Apollonius of Tyre and John Gower’s “Tale of Apollonius”); second M.A. program 2013–2015 Leipzig (British Studies), (MA thesis on John Gower). Academic interests: medieval culture and literature (up to the 14th century, John Gower), the representation of the middle ages in new media (film, TV series, video games), video games as subject of study in literary and cultural studies.

MINWEN HUANG: She is currently a Ph.D. graduate in the English Department of Leipzig University. She studies the genre of Fantastic Literature in light of literary imaginary and cognitive poetics theories and is investigating the writings on artificial humans for her doctoral thesis. Her master’s thesis, The Matrix Trilogy as a Postmodern Myth, was published in 2008.

DÉSIRÉE KRIESCH: She studied British and American Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin, completed her Ph.D. on ‘contemporary American films that delude their audiences’ at Siegen University and is currently university assistant at the English Department of the University of Innsbruck. Her research interests include gothic fiction, intermediality and film narratology, and she has recently published Ausgetrickst! Zuschauertäuschung im zeitgenössischen US-amerikanischen long con-Film (2014).

JULIA KUNZ: She graduated from the University of Leipzig in 2012 with an M.A. in British Studies. Her final thesis Intertextuality and Psychology in P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins Books was adapted for publication in 2014. Areas of research include Children’s Literature, attitudes towards children in Irish literature as well as Irish contemporary fiction with particular emphasis on the works of Anne Enright, Ireland’s first and current Fiction Laureate. She is interested in the idea of the ghost as a metaphor for the past and the question of which aspects of human nature haunt us, frighten us and manifest themselves as “ghosts”.

JULIA PFEIFER: She has a M.A. in British Studies and Social Anthropology from the University of Leipzig. Her interest in other cultures began very early on and consciously so with her interest for the English Language and British culture. This interest was further spurred by an exchange year to Northern Louisiana, which did not, at that time, turn into research of Voodoo. While studying she took part in a seminar about religions in the underground and Vodou was part of this seminar. Her interests within (British) literature lie in general with detective, dystopian and fantastic fiction. Her reading project at the moment involves Terry Pratchett’s legacy of Discworld Novels. ← 8 | 9 →

CLAUSDIRK POLLNER: After his Ph.D. and ‘habilitation’ at the Technical University of Aachen, a garland of ‘locums’ and guest-professorships, among others at the universities of Essen, Vienna and Trento. Professor of English Linguistics (diachrony and synchrony) at the University of Osnabrueck/Vechta. Prof. of English Linguistics (global varieties of English) at the University of Leipzig, till 2011. Main research interests: Scots and Scottish Standard English (history, current situation, fiction in scots); English in India; English and the novel. The interest in Newman’s ghost novel developed through a review in “The Guardian“, where it was reviewed, strangely, under ‘science fiction’.

CLAUDIA RICHTER: She studied English Literature and Religious Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, and English and Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Her M.A. thesis, The Aesthetics of Violence in the Drama of Christopher Marlowe, won the Martin Lehnert Award, which is annually awarded by the German Shakespeare Society. Her doctoral thesis The Calvinesque. An Aesthetics of Violence in English Literature after the Reformation was published with Peter Lang in 2014. Her current interest in the work of Carl Gustav Jung has grown out of her research on the aesthetic and psychological consequences of Protestant, esp. Calvinist, theology.

VERA SHAMINA: Prof. in the Dep. of World Literature, Kazan Federal University, Russia. A lecturer in English and American literature and drama for students of English studies. The author of three monographs in Russian and about 150 essays on different aspects of drama and literature, published in Russia and abroad, including Germany. It is her 5th participation in Inklings conferences.

SOPHIE THIELE: She holds a BA in English Studies from Leipzig University and spent a semester as an Erasmus student in Bangor, Wales. In 2014 she enrolled in the M.A. program English Literatures at the Humboldt University Berlin. Her research focuses on poetry and literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

KATI VOIGT: She is a Ph.D. student of English Literature and British Cultural Studies. She studied Mathematics and English at the University of Leipzig and finished her Teacher Training Programme for Grammar School and Magister’s degree in 2010. Since then she has been a research assistant and lecturer for English Literature and Cultural Studies at Leipzig University. Her special interest lies with the fourth dimension (time and space), mathematics in literature and Tony Blair in literature and film. The working title of her Ph.D. thesis is The Science in Time Fantasies for Children and Young Adults. ← 9 | 10 → ← 10 | 11 →

Preface: Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible


ISBN (Hardcover)
Open Access
Publication date
2016 (August)
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 170 pp., 6 coloured ill., 8 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Maria Fleischhack (Volume editor) Elmar Schenkel (Volume editor)

Maria Fleischhack lectures at Leipzig University with a focus on Victorian and Postmodern fiction and Shakespearean drama; special interest: Sherlock Holmes. Elmar Schenkel teaches English Literature at the University of Leipzig. He has published on Wells, Conrad and Tolkien and the relations between science and literature.


Title: Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible