I just wanted to say thank you so much for inviting us to attend the Spectral Visions conference again this year. It was another fantastic day and our students found it to be a great introduction to the Gothic genre.
Just a quick email to say how much we enjoyed Friday's event. It was really thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining. We will definitely be ensuring that if a similar event takes place next year, that our students are able to attend.
I wanted to take the time to tell you just how much both staff and students both enjoyed and benefited from the conference. It was an enjoyable day from start to finish and will undoubtedly help our AS to A2 students who will be comparing three Gothic texts for their coursework. A huge thank you to you and your students for all the time and effort in organising this.
The feedback we have received from students at our school has been very positive; many commented specifically about your lecture saying they found it both accessible and interesting. For me it was great just being a student again for the day!
Thanks again for the lectures and workshops. I know that I and my colleagues, and also the students, had a really great day. They were really inspired by all of the sessions they attended and I know it has really helped us to bring the Gothic to life for them!They loved the lectures byyourself and Dr Alison Younger so if you were able to send us those slides they would be really useful to discuss with the students.
I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, finding it both interesting and informative, especially on a topic that I am so unfamiliar on, even the meaning of the word Gothic itself, which I now know refers to the Middle Ages, and initially didn't contain conventions usually associated with it today. I found the lecturers themselves very fascinating, and thought they delivered enrapturing talks, I especially enjoyed Professor Franklin Bishops lecture on John Polidori, a writer who I was previously unaware of, and I now from his lecture plan to write my coursework on Polidoris novel 'The Vampyre', the first piece in which the vampyre was presented in a way in which we would associate vampyres in literature today, rather than the traditional folklore image of the being. The lecture on vampyres from Professor WilliamHughes especially interested me, with the direct references to Dracula in relation to the nature of the Vampyre, as having read the book previously in my own time, it was interesting to delve into the text in such a analytical way in relation to the Vampyre itself as a creature. I would like to thank you for the experience of the day, as not only have I been given more awareness on the Gothic genre, but also an experience of university life in the lecture halls.
For me personally, - although the conference as a whole provided a great overall view of the topic of the Gothic and was able to give, in detail, information that provided essential context in the development and understanding of ideas surrounding this concepts through a variety of texts and ideas - the best part of the day was the specific workshops that occurred based around certain texts. I attended the Dr Faustus workshop and learnt a great deal that has allowed me to deepen by understanding of the text and expand on my interpretations due to the extensive detail and emphasis that was placed on the theme of Religion - Heaven vs. Hell. this valuable information allowed the text to be explored not just as a ridicule of religion but also the importance of the supernatural and the influence of religion at the time in which Marlowe was writing that may affect the way in which the play was originally received. By using this information and comparing it to the theories of the time such as Romanticism and Surrealism as well as art of the period of the time allowed for the extent of the impact made by such resources, literature or otherwise, very evident. It is therefore possible to say how informative this conference is at creating an awareness to the Gothic as well as the specific texts studied by A-Level students by presenting such concepts with such ease and clarity in a university lecture style setting.
Spectral Visions 2, based on Gothic literary techniques was very informative and interesting. I gained new skills and it really cemented my desires to continue with English literature at university. Each lecture was full of passion, encouraging even further interest into the gothic genre. In terms of the most informative lecture I would have to say it came from Professor John Strachan, I particularly enjoyed his notes on the new emotional climate of romanticism and the genres link to the gothic. I thought his insight into the darker side of surrealism and romanticism was fascinating as he presented it as an alienation and separation of the imagination, a concept I found new and exciting. The Conference, has given me many ideas for coursework and I am looking forward to consolidating my overall knowledge and interest in the gothic genre.
Carmel College (Sixth form pupil)
In all honesty, my expectations of the trip were very low. I believed that it would be covering topics that wouldn't focus on the specific novels we are studying. But my expectations were completely flipped throughout the day. Learning about the vampires covered a large topic that could be applied to the ghoulish creatures and humans. The day was extremely interesting and raised questions that I hope could be covered in my later studies.
Photography by David Van Helsing Newton
Modelling by staff and students.
Sunderland University Faculty of Darkness
Visitors since 08/12/2008