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Dr Bernice M. Murphy B.A. (QUB), M.A. (QUB), Ph.D. (Dublin), F.T.C.D. Assistant Professor, Co-Director of MPhil in Popular Literature, Head of Sophisters


My major teaching and research interests lie in popular literature and American horror fiction and film. I specialise in the study of place and space in American horror and gothic narratives, and have published extensively in this area. I undertook my undergraduate and MA studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, and did my PhD on the work of Shirley Jackson here at TCD. I held an IRCHSS Post-Doctoral research fellowship at Trinity from 2006-8 and was appointed a lecturer in the School of English in 2008. I have been director of the M.Phil in Popular Literature since 2009.

To date, I have published three monographs on American horror and gothic narratives: 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 the collections Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy (McFarland, 2005), and, with Darryl Jones and Elizabeth McCarthy, It Came from the 1950s! Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties (2011). I have most recently published the textbook Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction (2017) for Edinburgh University Press and the essay collection Lost Souls: Essays on Horror and the Gothic’s Neglected and Forgotten Personages (2016, co-edited with Elizabeth McCarthy). Along with my co-editor Stephen Matterson, I am currently revising the essay collection Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction for publication.  I am also in the very early stages of a new research project focusing on representations of California in American horror narratives.

I have a strong professional and personal interest in horror in all its forms, and regularly review films and television shows for The Green Book and The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies.  I have presented my research papers at a wide range of national and international conferences, including the International Gothic Association Biannual Conferences in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, the 2012 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference in Boston, and the 2015 and 2016 IAAS conferences. I also gave keynote addresses at “Bad Writing: A Symposium on Literature and Value” at King’s College London, in 2011, and, more recently, at the TCD hosted “Between Places and Spaces: Landscapes of Liminality” conference (June 2014).

My undergraduate modules in 2017/18 will be the SF lecture courses Twentieth-Century Supernatural Literature and Contemporary Popular Literature and the Sophister options The American Gothic: Landscapes of Fear and American Horror Stories: Narrative, History, and Nation.  I will also be teaching an M.Phil option course and contribute extensively to the core course section of the M.Phil in Popular Literature.   

My current PhD student is researching post-1950s eco-horror narrativea, and I have also supervised PhD theses on the horror genre and child-related controversy and representations of the forest in horror and the gothic. In addition, I have supervised numerous M.Phil and undergraduate dissertations on a wide range of topics related to the study of popular literature.  I'm happy to consider applications from prospective research students interested in contemporary horror and gothic studies and related topics within American literature.

Those interested in the M. Phil in Popular Literature are very welcome to contact me with their queries but should check the M.Phil home page beforehand as many of the most commonly asked questions are already answered there.

Published and Forthcoming Books:

  • (Edited, with Stephen Matterson), Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction. Edinburgh University Press [Forthcoming, January 2018].

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

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

  • The Highway Horror Film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

  • The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

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

  • The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

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

Recent Articles/Book Chapters:

  • ‘White Settlers and Windigoes: Teaching Monstrosity Within the American Gothic Narrative’ (in) eds. Adam Golub and Heather Hayton, Monsters in the Classroom, North Carolina, McFarland, 2017.
  • ‘Horror Fiction from the Decline of Universal Horror to the Rise of the Psycho Killer’ (in), ed. Xavier Aldana Reyes, Horror: A Literary History, London, British Library, 2016.
  • ‘Girl Anachronism: We have Always Lived in the Castle and the Depiction of Adolescent Psychosis in Excision (2012) and Stoker (2013)’ (in) eds. Melanie Anderson and Lisa Kroger, Shirley Jackson: Influences and Confluences, London, Routledge, 2016.
  • ‘Cities of the Insane: The Asylum as Ruin in Recent American Horror Narratives’ (in), eds. Dara Downey, Ian Kinane and Elizabeth Parker, Landscapes of Liminality, London, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.
  • ‘It's Not the House That's Haunted’: Demons, Debt and the Family in Peril Formula in Recent Horror Cinema. (in) ed. Murray Leeder, Cinematic Ghosts: Haunting and Spectrality from Silent Cinema to the Digital Era. Continuum, 2015.
  • “You Mean they Ate Each Other Up?” The Shining as Wendigo Narrative. (in) ed. Danel Olson, The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film, Centipede Press, 2015.
  • ‘Identical Boxes Spreading Like Gangrene: Defining the Suburban Gothic” (in) editor, Charles L. Crow, A Companion to American Gothic, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2013.


School of English
Room 4010
Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2

Telephone: +353 01 896 2547
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Research System URL

The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies

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