Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.
Xavier Aldana Reyes is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Film at Manchester Metropolitan University and a founder member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies. He specialises in Gothic and horror film and fiction. He is the author of Spanish Gothic (2017), Horror Film and Affect (2016) and Body Gothic (2014), and the editor of Horror: A Literary History (2016).
Katarzyna Ancuta is a Lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Her research interests revolve around the interdisciplinary contexts of contemporary Gothic/horror, currently with a strong Asian focus. Her recent publications include contributions to Neoliberal Gothic (2017) and The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story (2017), as well as two journal issues on Thai (2014) and Southeast Asian (2015) horror film.
Frank Ferguson is Research Director for English Language and Literature at the Coleraine Campus of Ulster University, Northern Ireland. He is the editor of Ulster-Scots Writing: An Anthology (2008) and has published widely on Ulster-Scots literary and cultural subjects.
Danni Glover recently completed her PhD thesis, ‘Thomas Percy: Literary Anthology and National Identity’. She has published on the musicality of Percy’s Reliques and the poetry of Mary, Queen of Scots. Danni is an independent researcher and is researching theology and terrorism in literature.
William Hughes is Professor of Medical Humanities and Gothic Literature at Bath Spa University. His twenty published books include Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker’s Fiction and its Cultural Context (2000), Dracula: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism (2009), The Historical Dictionary of Gothic Literature (2013), That Devil’s Trick: Hypnotism and the Victorian Popular Imagination (2015) and Key Concepts in the Gothic (2018). A past president of the International Gothic Association, he was editor of the journal Gothic Studies from its launch in 1999 to 2018.
Bridget M. Marshall is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She is the author of The Transatlantic Gothic Novel and the Law, 1790–1860 (2011) and co-editor of Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century (2013). Currently, she is developing a project on Gothic literature and the Industrial Revolution.
Rachid M’Rabty is an Associate Lecturer and PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has published articles on the violence in American Psycho, Thomas Ligotti’s corporate horror and the philosophy of Sade. Rachid’s research explores contemporary ‘transgressive’ fiction, pessimism and, particularly, the extent to which acts/fantasies of self-destruction become a means to articulate a subversive response to, or escape from, existential discontent.
Graeme Pedlingham is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex, where he leads the university-wide interdisciplinary Foundation Years programme. He has published on Richard Marsh and curated the first Arts and Humanities Research Council-sponsored exhibition on Marsh. He has also published on anxiety in Gothic videogames. Currently, he is exploring approaches to teaching students in transition and the role of anxiety in education.
Fiona Peters is Professor of Crime Fiction at Bath Spa University. She is the course leader for MA in Crime and Gothic Fictions, director of the International Crime Fiction Association and founder and director of the annual international conference, Captivating Criminality, now in its fifth year. She is a Patricia Highsmith scholar, and her monograph Anxiety and Evil in the Writings of Patricia Highsmith was published by Routledge in 2011. She has published extensively on crime fiction, literature and evil, and psychoanalysis.
Andrew Smith is Professor of Nineteenth-Century English Literature at the University of Sheffield, where he co-directs, with Professor Angela Wright, the Centre for the History of the Gothic. He is the author or editor of more than twenty published books including Gothic Death 1740–1914: A Literary History (2016), The Ghost Story 1840–1920: A Cultural History (2010), Gothic Literature (2007, revised 2013), Victorian Demons (2004) and Gothic Radicalism (2000). He is a past president of the International Gothic Association.
Dawn Stobbart works in Lancaster University’s English Department as an Associate Lecturer, specialising in contemporary literature and the way this translates to the videogame, with a forthcoming monograph titled From Amnesia to Zombies, Run! Videogames and Horror. She is a co-editor of the journal of Stephen King studies, Pennywise Dreadful, and is currently working on the links between H. P. Lovecraft and the videogame Bloodborne.
Lisa Vargo, Professor of English, University of Saskatchewan, has produced editions of Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey, Mary Shelley’s Lodore and Spanish and Portuguese Lives, Mary Shelley’s Literary Lives and Other Writings (Vol. 2, ed. Nora Crook). Recent essays include as their subjects Mary Shelley’s sources for Frankenstein, Anna Barbauld’s ‘Inscription for an Ice-House’, representations of the moose in late eighteenth-century literature and Mary Shelley’s ‘The Swiss Peasant’.
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock is Professor of English at Central Michigan University, USA, and author or editor of twenty one books – most recently, The Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic (2018), The Age of Lovecraft (edited with Carl Sederholm, 2016), Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture (co-authored with Isabella van Elferen, 2016) and Return to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory & Genre on Television (edited with Catherine Spooner, 2016). Visit him at JeffreyAndrewWeinstock.com.