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Dr Bernice M. Murphy B.A. (QUB), M.A. (QUB), Ph.D. (Dublin), F.T.C.D. Associate Professor; Lecturer in Popular Literature; Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate); Structured PhD Co-ordinator

My major teaching and research interests lie in the areas of popular literature and American horror and gothic fiction and film. I undertook my undergraduate and MA studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, and did my PhD on Shirley Jackson here at TCD. I held an IRCHSS Post-Doctoral research fellowship at Trinity from 2006-8 and was took up my post as a lecturer in the School of English in October 2008. I was made a Fellow of the College in April 2017. I am the current Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning (DPTL). I was previously School co-ordinator of the TCD/Columbia Dual Degree programme, as before that, Sophister head and Visiting Student co-ordinator.


I specialise in the study of place and space in American horror and gothic narratives. To date, I have published three monographs in this subject area: The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (2009); The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture: Backwoods Horror and Terror and the Wilderness (2013) and The Highway Horror Film (2014). I have also edited (or co-edited) the collections Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy (McFarland, 2005), (with Darryl Jones and Elizabeth McCarthy), It Came from the 1950s! Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties (2011), and with Professor Stephen Matterson, Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction (2018).

My textbook Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction was published in 2017 and Lost Souls: Essays on Horror and the Gothic’s Neglected and Forgotten Personages (co-edited with Elizabeth McCarthy) appeared in 2016. Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction, which I co-edited with my colleague Stephen Matterson, appeared in 2018. Along with Elizabeth McCarthy, I co-founded The Irish Journal of Horror and Gothic Studies in 2006 and I co-edited the journal until 2012: I am now a member of the journal’s editorial board, as well as the board of several other journals and academic book series.

I recently completed a new monograph on representations of California in American horror and Gothic narratives. I received research funding from the Arts and Social Sciences Benefaction Fund to support this endeavour. I also worked alongside editor Laurence Jackson Hyman as the academic consultant to his volume The Letters of Shirley Jackson, which was published in July 2021.


My undergraduate modules in 2021/22 will include American Identities and Pulp: Introduction to Popular Literature. I will also be teaching the Sophister options American Horror Stories: Narrative, History, and It Came From the 1950s: American Popular Fiction During the Cold War Era. I will be teaching on the M.Phil. in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies and contributing to the UG modules Imagining the Contemporary: No Future and Cultures of Retelling.


I have presented my research at many national and international conferences, including numerous International Gothic Association (IGA) biannual conferences; the 2012 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference held in Boston, and the 2019 ASLE conference held at the University of California, Davis. I have given keynote addresses at conferences including the July 2018 IGA, the ‘Madness in Popular Culture’ conference held at Edinburgh University in May 2018, and ‘Folk Horror in the Twenty-First Century’ (Falmouth, UK, September 2019).

Research Supervision:

My current PhD student Janice Deitner is working on the Provost’s PhD Award funded project ‘Shirley Jackson: Beyond Hill House’. I have previously supervised PhD theses on the horror genre and child-related controversy, on representations of forests in the gothic, and on American eco-horror. In addition, I have supervised numerous M.Phil. and undergraduate dissertations, many of them on topics related to Popular Literature. I am particularly happy to respond to supervision inquiries from prospective research students interested on twentieth and twenty-first century American horror and gothic fiction. Queries from students interested in working on Shirley Jackson and related authors/topics are also welcome. 



  • The California Gothic in Fiction and Film, Edinburgh University Press, submitted.

  • The Highway Horror Film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 


  • (Academic consultant), The Letters of Shirley Jackson, edited by Laurence Jackson Hyman, Random House: New York, 2021.

Edited Collections:

  • (Edited with Sorcha Ni Fhlainn), Twentieth Century Gothic (under contract with Edinburgh University Press), submitted.
  • (Edited, with Stephen Matterson), Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction. Edinburgh University Press [Forthcoming, January 2018].

  • (Editor, with Elizabeth McCarthy), Lost Souls of Horror and the Gothic. North Carolina: McFarland, 2016.

  • (Editor, with Elizabeth McCarthy and Darryl Jones) It Came From the 1950s: Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

  • (Editor) Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy, North Carolina: McFarland, 2005.

Text Books:

  • Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

Recent Book Chapters/Articles:

  • ‘Masks of Sanity’: Psychopathy and the Twentieth-Century Gothic’ (in) eds. Bernice Murphy and Sorcha Ni Fhlainn, Twentieth-Century Gothic, Edinburgh University Press, (forthcoming).
  • ‘American Folk Horror’ (in) eds. Stephen Shapiro and Mark Storey, The Cambridge Companion to American Horror (forthcoming).

  • ‘Black Boxes: Tradition and Human Sacrifice in American Folk Horror’ (in) eds. Dawn Keetley and Ruth Heholt, Folk Horror: New Global Pathways, University of Wales Press (forthcoming).

  • Psychoanalysis and the Popular Gothic’ (in) eds. Catherine Spooner and Dale Townshend, The Cambridge History of the Gothic, Volume 3, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021.

  • ‘I Mean, I Told You Not to Go in that House’: Place, Space and the Reconfiguration of White Trash Monstrosity in Get Out. (in) ed. Dawn Keetley, Approaches to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2020, pp.72-86.

  • ‘Contemporary Serial Killers’ (in) eds. Maisha Wester and Xavier Aldana Reyes, Twenty-First Century Gothic, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019.


School of English
Room 4010
Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2

Telephone: +353 01 896 2547


Research System URL

The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies

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