Ever since the dawn of literature, the supernatural has played a role in the stories
humanity tells about itself. But how can we compare Medieval historical writing –
with its naturalistic narratives of fairies, demons, and monsters – with present-day
written and film fiction concerning vampires, aliens, and ghosts? What are today’s
readers to make of Medieval texts of a consciously fictional nature? Even in 12th
Century Britain, the serious author Gerald of Wales could criticise his earlier contemporary
Geoffrey of Monmouth for writing lies, yet Gerald himself delights in tales of demons
and enchantment. Film and literature’s fascination with the supernatural is no less
complex today: Whether ‘weird fiction’, Hollywood’s fairy tale reboots, ancient evils
of Lovecraftian horror, literary mysticism, the vampires and werewolves of the Twilight
books and movies, or the vengeful ghosts and giant monsters that wreak habitual destruction
in Japanese cinema, popular culture has never been more magical.
This conference brought together scholars from across the world to discuss the supernatural
in literature and film.