Dr Joan Passey

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Personal profile

Research interests

Researcher and writer specialising in:

  • Transhistorical, transatlantic Gothic from the eighteenth century to the present day
  • Focusing on anxieties surrounding emerging technologies and changing attitudes to the environment
  • Seascapes, coasts, shipwrecks, and seamonsters
  • Ann Radcliffe, Wilkie Collins, Shirley Jackson, Helen Oyeyemi

I am a Teaching Associate at the University of Bristol. My PhD was awarded in 2019 and is entitled ‘Corpses, Coasts, and Carriages: Cornish Gothic, 1840-1913’. It is an interdisciplinary study of representations of Gothic Cornwall in a range of sources from the long nineteenth century in response to contemporary cultural changes both within and without the county. It was supervised by Professor Nick Groom (Exeter) and Professor William Hughes (Bath Spa) and fully funded by the South, West, and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. It was additionally supported by the Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Q Fund.

My monograph, Cornish Gothic, is under contract with University of Wales Press and will illuminate the history of haunted Cornwall.

I am currently working on my second monograph Aquatic Anxieties: The Maritime Gothic, 1840-1913. This project looks at the ways in which seas are represented as monstrous spaces in nineteenth-century literature as a response to both environmental and colonial anxieties.

My further research considers the sea as a health environment in nineteenth-century literature and culture. This includes shipboard medical treatment; illness and malady while travelling at sea (with a focus on seasickness and its cures); coastal health tourism and thalassotherapy; and the health of the sea itself, considering embryonic ideas of oceanic pollution.

I am a BBC New Generation Thinkers 2020-2021 finalist. I am formerly an Oxford Dictionary of National Biography / Oxford Centre for Life Writing Scholar and Visiting Doctoral Fellowship holder at Wolfson College, Oxford for 2018 – 2019, a postgraduate representative for the University of Exeter’s Centre for Victorian Studies, an organiser of the British Society for Literature and Science Winter Symposium 2018 at Cardiff University, and a recipient of the Cornwall Heritage Trust bursary and the Tom Jarman scholarship at Gladstone’s Library.

joan.passey@bristol.ac.uk and @JoanPassey on Twitter




Forthcoming anthology: Cornish Horrors: Tales from the Land’s End (London: British Library, 2021)

Forthcoming monograph: Cornish Gothic (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2022)


Forthcoming: ‘“A delightful place to be buried in”: Representations of Cornwall in Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes’, Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature (formerly Victorian Newsletter) (Summer 2021)

Robert Lloyd, Joan Passey & Eric Savoy, 'Book Forum: Rethinking Darryl Hattenhauer’s Shirley Jackson’s American Gothic', Women's Studies (2020), pp. 901-908

‘Surfacing: Cornish Women Rising from the Depths’, Question: Essays and Art from the Humanities, 1.1 (2017), pp. 36-45

'Gothic Landscapes and Seascapes: Dark Regions in Wilkie Collins's The Dead Secret', Studies in Gothic Fiction, 5.2 (2016), pp. 21-30

‘The Aesthetics of the Auditory: Sound and Silence in the Novels of Ann Radcliffe’, Horror Studies,7.2 (2016), pp. 189-204

Book Chapters

Forthcoming: 'Haunted by Flotsam and Jetsam: Folkloric Representations of Oceanic Pollution on the British Coast', Interrogating Folklore and the Literary Fairy-tale in the Anthropocene ed. Anita Harris Satkunananthan (London: Lexington Books, 2021)

Forthcoming: 'Ann Radcliffe: Gothic Nature and the Nature of the Gothic’, The Gothic Handbook: Vol III, ed. Clive Bloom (London: Palgrave, 2021)

'The Haunted Regions of Sabine Baring-Gould', The Palgrave Handbook of Steam Age Gothic, ed. Clive Bloom (London: Palgrave, 2021), pp. 559-571.

‘Dark Tourism’, The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Gothic, ed. Clive Bloom (London: Palgrave, 2020), pp. 49-62

‘“Imagined ghosts on unfrequented roads”: Cornish Gothic Tourism in the Nineteenth Century’, Virtual Dark Tourism, ed. Kathryn McDaniel (London: Palgrave, 2018), pp. 41-62

'Sea-wolves, Seascapes, and Smugglers: Captain Cruel Coppinger and Criminality in Cornwall', Pirates in History and Popular Culture, ed. Antonio Sanna (North Carolina: McFarland, 2018), pp. 75-87

‘Introduction’, The Sisters (London: Ampersand Publishing, 2017)

Reference Texts

‘E.F. Benson’, Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction, ed. Kevin Morrison(North Carolina: McFarland, 2018)

‘Sabine Baring-Gould’, Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction, ed. Kevin Morrison(North Carolina: McFarland, 2018)


Forthcoming: ‘Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia’, Gothic Nature (2022)


Special issue: Revenant on ‘The Subterranean Gothic’, co-edited with Daisy Butcher and Sherezade García Rangel (Summer 2021)

Special issue: Gothic Nature on ‘Haunted Shores’, co-edited with Jimmy Packham and Emily Alder (Spring 2022)

Review: ‘Shirley Jackson and Domesticity: Beyond the Haunted House, ed. Jill E. Anderson and Melanie R. Anderson’, Studies in Gothic Fiction (TBC)

Review: ‘The Forest and the Ecogothic by Elizabeth Parker’, Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies (TBC)

Review: ‘Gothic Animals, ed. Ruth Heholt and Melissa Edmundson’, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (TBC)

Edited collection: Haunted Shores with Jimmy Packham and Emily Alder following interest from University of Wales Press

Edited collection: Dark Tales: Re-evaluating the Short Fiction of Shirley Jackson with Rob Lloyd

Article: ‘“To look at it was enough to give one a tooth-ache”: Tennyson and Arthurian Tourism in Nineteenth-Century Cornwall’ with Victorian Review as of May 2020


May 2021. Invited by BBC Freethinking to discuss my research on Gothic coasts.

Feb 2021. Commissioned by Anatomy of a Scream to produce a six-part podcast series entitled Shirley You Can’t Be Serious? on the life, works, and significance of author Shirley Jackson.

Jan 2021. Invited to discuss my research on the Lol My Praxis podcast.

Nov 2020. Invited by Birds Eye View to record an introduction to Shirley Jackson to preface screenings of the biopic Shirley (2020)at 70+ Curzon and independent cinemas, as well as to participate in a live-streamed Q&A to promote the film on the 4th November.

Nov 2020. ‘Would You Like a Cup of Tea?: Shirley Jackson's Disquieting Femininities’ presentation for the Looking at Femininity podcast.

Oct 2020. ‘Rebecca and beyond: the creative allure of gothic Cornwall’ article for The Conversation.



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