Institute of English Languages and Literatures

Anna Berger


Englisches Seminar
Universität Tübingen
Wilhelmstraße 50
72074 Tübingen

Office: 462 b)

Email: anna-s.berger[at]

Office hour during the summer term 2018:

Academic Pathway

PhD Project: “The Spectres of Masculinity: Manhood in Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories, 1860 – 1914” 

In the golden age of the ghost story, which began in the early Victorian period and ran until Word War I, the ghost story has served as a means to address unconformable topics and contemporary taboos.Women writers used the genre to criticise their gender role restrictions in the patriarchal society which saw marriage and motherhood as the only proper occupations for women. For this reason, critics have often focused on how the genre was used to contest Victorian hegemonic ideas about women and their place in society.

However, there has been a blind spot in the perception of the genre. To what extent the form was used to erode gender expectations confronting men is a question which has received only little critical attention – even though many of the protagonists are, in fact, men.There are, of course, stories, in which the visitation of a ghost bolsters rather than undermines masculinity. More often, however, the appearance of a spectre has a feminising effect on men. Instead of standing their ground, they become nervous and helpless, attributes usually assigned to women in these days. Accordingly, the boundaries between what was supposed to be male and female are blurred in the genre. My dissertation focuses on this dualism. It further shows that the genre was used in order to interrogate male sexual identities and to mediate a new concept of masculinity which highlights the importance of emotion and sensitivity.

Fields of Academic Interests and Research

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