Academic Publications

Books, Chapters, Journal Articles & More

Dr Kirstin Mills has published her research across several formats. Recent and forthcoming publications and in-progress projects are listed below (expand each item for abstracts and further details). If you wish to contact Kirstin about research projects, writing or collaborations, please do so here.


‘The Supernatural Fourth Dimension in Lucas Malet’s The Carissima and The Gateless Barrier.The Palgrave Handbook of Steam Age Gothic. Ed. Clive Bloom. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2020.
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Lucas Malet (Mary St Leger Kingsley) was a celebrated fin-de-siècle author whose two gothic novels, The Carissima: A Modern Grotesque (1896) and The Gateless Barrier (1900) employ the contrasting conventions of the ‘male’ and ‘female’ Gothic respectively. This chapter argues that the reason for this stylistic divergence can be found in Malet’s hitherto overlooked engagement with contemporary occultist notions of a supernatural fourth dimension, which proliferated in late-nineteenth-century scientific, spiritualist and theosophical thinking. Her novels, I suggest, operate as two poles of a dialectic that explores Malet’s ideas about the potential physical and psychological conditions required to access a higher spiritual dimension, with results that produce the divergent impulses of ‘Lewisite’ and ‘Radcliffean’ Gothic. Malet’s stylistic choices and engagement with the Gothic, therefore, indicate more than a mere dabbling in a popular genre. Instead, the Gothic provides Malet with an avenue through which to explore some of the most contentious and exciting scientific, philosophical and spiritual notions of her day.

‘Hellish Horses and Monstrous Men: Gothic Horsemanship in Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.’ Gothic Animals: Uncanny Otherness and the Animal With-Out. Ed. Ruth Heholt and Melissa Edmundson. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, pp. 223-240.
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Mills offers the first study of the horse and horsemanship in Gothic fiction, focusing on Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Metzengerstein’. Horses were a popular symbol of masculinity in Romantic-period Europe and America, where the rider’s appropriation of the horse’s body as an extension of his own signalled his masculine dominance over the natural world. This chapter examines the ways that Irving and Poe engage with this equine symbol in order to expose the Gothic potential for terror, brutality, and loss of the human within such close pairing of man and animal. It focuses particularly on their construction and development of the Demonic Horse as a Gothic monster that posits human and animal as uncanny doubles, drawing on equine folklore and the ballads of Gottfried August Bürger and Sir Walter Scott to critique the limits of, and reveal the animal potential within, nineteenth-century masculinity.

‘Frankenstein in Hyperspace: The Gothic Return of Digital Technologies to the Origins of Virtual Space in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.’ Global Frankenstein. Ed. Carol Margaret Davison and Marie Mulvey-Roberts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 265-281.
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The virtual, hypertextual spaces of twenty-first-century interactive digital media are commonly considered to be uniquely modern phenomena. Adaptations of classic texts into this format are therefore seen as radical departures from the original texts and the experience of reading them. This chapter proposes, however, that the adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein into the new form of the interactive ‘digital book’ paradoxically marks a return to its central—yet often overlooked—concerns with higher-dimensional (hyper-)space, which Shelley explored both thematically and formally, and which were also involved in nineteenth-century approaches to reading. As well as examining these early forms of virtual space, this chapter proposes that the ‘digital book’ is itself an inherently gothic form that reveals the uncanny potential of new media in the twenty-first century.

‘Dreaming into Hyperspace: The Victorian Spatial Imagination and the Origins of Modern Fantasy in MacDonald and Carroll.’ Informing the Inklings: George MacDonald and the Victorian Roots of Modern Fantasy. Ed. M. J. Partridge and Kirstin Jeffrey-Johnson. Winged Lion Press, 2018, pp. 129-147.
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This chapter is based on a paper originally presented at ‘Informing the Inklings’, the 2014 George MacDonald Society Conference in Oxford, England. It explores the origins of the modern fantasy genre in the Victorian correlation between the space of dreams and the supernatural world, and their exploration of both through the new development of non-Euclidean geometry and its related notions of higher-dimensional space, or hyperspace. Using historicised literary analysis, this chapter identifies crucial turning points in the literary exploration of these ideas in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and George MacDonald’s Phantastes and Lilith. Through their exploration of these new kinds of spaces, this chapter argues, these texts mark the emergence of the secondary worlds associated with the modern fantasy genre.

Forthcoming, Contracted and In Progress:

‘Lucas Malet.’ The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing. Ed. Lesa Scholl. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Live online edition. [Contracted; forthcoming 2020]

‘Theatres of the Mind: Dreams, Drama, and Spectral Cognition in Coleridge and Walpole.’ The Palgrave Handbook of Gothic Origins. 3 vols. Ed. Clive Bloom. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. [Contracted; forthcoming 2021]


‘At the Limits of Perception: Liminal Space and the Interrelation of Word and Image in Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother.’ Image [&] Narrative 18.3 (2017). [Free Article Download] [Complete Issue]

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This paper, part of a special issue of Image & Narrative on Horace Walpole, explores the ways that Horace Walpole’s Gothic texts, The Castle of Otranto, The Mysterious Mother, and even the architectural Strawberry Hill, operate within a fascinating nexus of visual and narrative discourse. By analysing the intersections of the verbal and visual within these works, which combine and collide within liminal spaces that figure a threshold state between the supernatural and the subconscious, this paper explores the ways that Walpole’s texts work collectively to interrogate eighteenth-century theories of optics, perception and imagination by positing a slippage between word and image that undermines the human attempt to make sense of the world.

In Progress:

‘Haunted by “Lenore”: The Fragment as Gothic Form, Creative Practice and Textual Evolution.’ Gothic Studies 23:3 (2021). [In Progress; Forthcoming]


‘Five Macabre Things You Didn’t Know About Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.’ The Lighthouse. Macquarie University, 30 October 2018. [Read Free Online]

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As Frankenstein turns 200 years old, Dr Kirstin Mills from the Department of English explores how the monstrous creation was inspired by the spooky real life of its author.

‘Frankenstein at 200: Special Anniversary Blog Series.’ Global Frankenreads partnered event. 9 installments. 24-31 October 2018. [Read Free Online]

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A special blog series written by Dr Kirstin Mills, published daily during “Frankenweek,” and officially listed as a global Frankenreads partnered event at The Keats-Shelley Association of America’s The nine separate installments each explore a different aspect of the fascinating contexts surrounding Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, its inspiration, production, and adaptation.

‘Shelley Conference: Kirstin Mills on Mary Shelley and the Landscapes of the Mind.’ Interview with the Keats-Shelley Association of America. February, 2018. [Read Free Online]

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Kirstin Mills (Macquarie University) reflects on her Shelley Conference paper: ‘Journeying through the Landscapes of the Mind: the Shelleys, Space, and the Psychological Sciences’. Mills discusses the significance of Mary Shelley’s travel writings after the death of her husband, before looking at what we can learn from Mary’s writings on psychological trauma.


Guest Speaker. Podcast Series: ‘Classic Teendaptation: Teen Movie Adaptations of Classic Literature.’ 9 episodes. From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 2020. [Blog post on the series and links to all episodes]

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“Kirstin, Stephanie and Jimmy come together across 9 episodes to discuss the phenomenon of Teen Movie adaptations of classic literature. Ranging from iconic 90s films such as Clueless and Ten Things I Hate About You to lesser known and more experimental adaptations, Kirstin, Stephanie and Jimmy tackle the questions of what makes a good adaptation, whether or not fidelity matters, and what teen films and can do to translate, update and even challenge classic literature.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Macbeth: The Enduring Appeal of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 15 April 2020. [Listen Free Online]

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“Shakespeare’s Macbeth is so good that we can’t stop thinking about it, or talking about it. This week, Stephanie, Jimmy and Kirstin discuss the appeal of the Scottish play, as well as the best and worst adaptations.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Comfort Texts for a Brave New World.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 1 April 2020. [Listen Free Online]

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“The world is in a very strange place right now, and we’re in need of serious distraction. Jimmy, Kirstin and Stephanie take you through their favourite comfort books, television shows, movies and podcasts.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Duality, Puppetry, and Podling Rights in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 19 February 2020. [Listen Free Online]

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“Stephanie is too busy and does not want to discuss Jimmy’s idea for this week’s podcast (aka the puppet episode), so in the spirit of resistance, Jimmy has taken control of the mic and invited the Queen of Fantasy (aka Dr Kirstin Mills) to discuss the new Netflix series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Join them as they discuss duality, puppetry, world-building, and Podling rights.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Love it or Hate it? The New BBC/Netflix Dracula.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 22 January 2020. [Listen Free Online]

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“The new Netflix adaptation has divided audiences: some love it, some hate it. This week, Stephanie and Kirstin give their verdict (spoiler: they neither loved nor hated it!).”

Guest Speaker. ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, aka the Gothic Charms of a Sassy Witch.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 2 October 2019. [Listen Free Online]

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“It’s time to get spoooooky. This month, Stephanie and Kirstin discuss the Gothic charms, sassy witches and excellent cats of the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

Speaker. ‘Frankenreads at Macquarie Session 2: New Perspectives on Frankenstein.’ A recording of conference presentations delivered at Frankenreads at Macquarie, 19 September, 2018. Published by From the Lighthouse, A podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 11 November 2018. [Listen Free Online]

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“To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein we will be releasing recordings from the FrankenReads event at Macquarie University in September. This week’s recording features the following presentations:
“The Tangled World of Frankenstein and Conflict of Laws” by Harry Melkonian ​

“Frankenstein in Hyperspace: The Return of Twenty-first-century Digital Technologies to the Origins of Virtual Space in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” by Kirstin Mills.”

Guest Speaker. ‘From the Filmhouse with Stephanie and Kirstin: Reviewing Mary Shelley (2018).’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 10 July 2018. [Listen Free Online]

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“Mary Shelley’s life was just made for the screen. Or was it? This week, Stephanie heads off to the movies with Dr Kirstin Mills to see the new Mary Shelley film, and they give their verdict.”

Guest Speaker. ‘The Spoooooky Halloween Show.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 25 October 2017. [Listen Free Online]

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“Do you like spoooooky novels? Tv shows? Movies? Podcasts? Why do we like to be scared, anyway? To celebrate Halloween, Stephanie and Jimmy are joined by Dr Kirstin Mills to discuss werewolves, vampires, mermaids, ghosts, witches, and the delicious thrill of terror.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Twenty Years a Slay: A Celebration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 25 October 2017. [Listen Free Online]

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“Buffy is the greatest television show of all time. At least, that’s what Stephanie, Dr Kirstin Mills and Dr Lorin Schwarz think. This week, they discuss the enduring appeal of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the genius of Joss Whedon, and why they can’t get enough of Spike.”

Guest Speaker. ‘Harry Potter and the Silent Intertexts.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the English Department, Macquarie University, 10 May 2017. [Listen Free Online]

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“Why is Harry Potter the global sensation that it is, twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Stephanie and Michelle chat with fantasy expert Dr Kirstin Mills about Harry Potter and the internet, other fantasy literature you should be reading, and why Rowling just can’t seem to let Harry go.”

‘BAVS2016: A Cardiff Victorian Conference Experience.’ Short Documentary Film. Written, Filmed and Presented by Kirstin Mills. [Watch on Youtube]

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“Kirstin Mills travels to the BAVS2016 Conference ‘Consuming the Victorians’ in Cardiff, Wales, and shares her summary of the exciting events that occurred over three days in August and September, 2016. Written, filmed and presented by Kirstin Mills with thanks to the British Association for Victorian Studies and Cardiff University. Video Length: 4:59”

On the Blog

Blog Posts about Academic Research & Publishing

Read more about Kirstin’s upcoming research projects, and her latest and forthcoming publications on the blog.