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.


‘Morphean Space and the metaphysics of nightmare: Gothic theories of dreaming in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Notebooks.’ Gothic Dreams and Nightmares, ed. Carol Margaret Davison. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2024:

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge was haunted by nightmares, which he extensively documented in his private notebooks. This chapter argues that Coleridge’s nightmare writings should not only be considered narrative texts in their own right, and therefore as extensions of his literary oeuvre, but also that they can best be understood through the language, architecture and impulses of the Gothic. Despite Coleridge’s conscious attempts to distance himself from the Gothic in his literary criticism, his notebook writings about nightmares and his attempts to scientifically theorise them are unsettlingly infused with and informed by this same mode. In particular, this chapter examines the Gothic nature of Coleridge’s concept of ‘Morphean Space,’ which he developed through extensive engagement with contemporary theories on the causes of dreaming, ranging from the medical and biological to the supernatural. ‘Morphean Space’ was the unique space within which dreams occurred, but it also overlapped with both the material, waking world and the immaterial realm of the supernatural. In this model, nightmares were caused by demonic entities invading the body via Morphean Space and taking possession of the mind. This chapter asserts that Morphean Space can be mapped onto the similar spatial constructions of the haunted labyrinths and subterranean crypts within earlier Gothic novels. It argues further that this similarity empowers Coleridge to draw on the Gothic mode when writing about his own nightmares, allowing him to employ Gothic literary techniques to express, theorise, and ultimately to regain authorial control over the nightmare forces that threatened to possess his mind.

‘Vampires in Digital Mobile Media.’ The Palgrave Handbook of the Vampire, ed. Simon Bacon. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 2024 (first online 2023):

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The vampire looms large in a vast transmedia landscape. With each new iteration comes the potential to both reinforce and alter what have come to be our twenty-first-century understandings of the vampire; what it is, how it looks, and what it represents as a longstanding yet evolving cultural symbol. One of the most recent and continually evolving developments in media technology is the digital mobile device, encompassing both smartphones and tablets. Ubiquitous in the twenty first century, digital mobile media offers the vampire new territory to infiltrate, influence, and evolve within. This chapter explores some of the most prevalent examples of the vampire in contemporary mobile media, ranging from digital adaptations of literary texts like Stoker’s Dracula and born-digital vampire literature and games, to the presence and function of vampires in visual communication from emojis to digital photo filters and social media. It concludes by considering the role of the vampire as a metaphor in criticisms of the “smartphone zombie.” In particular, it contends that the vampire thrives in this new digital media environment, simultaneously reverting to its most traditional incarnations and reinforcing well-trodden stereotypes and cultural understandings of the vampire, while at the same time continuing to function – as it has since its nineteenth-century literary incarnations – as a lens through which to explore contemporary desires and fears.

‘Malet, Lucas [Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison]’ The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing, ed. Lesa Scholl and Emily Morris. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 2022, 965-969 (and also online as a Living Reference Entry).
Print/online chapter:
Living Reference Entry:

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Lucas Malet (1852–1931) was the pseudonym of Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison, one of the most popular and acclaimed novelists writing in English at the Victorian fin-de-siècle. Even though her best-selling novels rivalled and substantially influenced those of authors like Thomas Hardy and Henry James, Malet’s substantial oeuvre and literary impact were largely forgotten by the twentieth-century critical and historical accounts that canonized her male contemporaries. In response to this omission, recent scholarship has increasingly brought Malet’s writing, networks, and artistic influence to light, illuminating particularly Malet’s ability to engage, at times controversially, with many of the most pressing social, cultural, and political issues of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Malet’s works span a wide stylistic and generic range, including but not limited to realism, naturalism, Aestheticism, the grotesque, the Gothic, and proto-modernist formal experimentation, while her extensive range of daring subject matter included the New Woman, sexuality, same-sex desire, adultery, prostitution, illness, disability, medicine, science, spirituality, and the supernatural. With a career spanning the 1880s to the 1920s, Malet’s work provides a case study of the literary transition from late-Victorian realism to modernism and the development of the novel from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries. Continuing scholarship on Malet is needed to consolidate her reclaimed position as one of the most significant late-Victorian writers.

‘The Poetics of Space, the Mind, and the Supernatural in S. T. Coleridge.’ The Palgrave Handbook of Gothic Origins, ed. Clive Bloom. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2021, pp. 321-341.

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While Samuel Taylor Coleridge is remembered as a Romantic poet, much of his best and most influential writing—from his poems The Ancient Mariner and Christabel to his Biographia Literaria—participates heavily in the Gothic tradition. Moreover, these texts represent a significant innovation, helping to initiate the Gothic’s turn towards the inner spaces of the mind and the unconscious that would characterise Gothic from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. This chapter argues that the reasons for both Coleridge’s engagement with and innovative impact upon the Gothic involve his unique conceptions of proto-higher-dimensional space in which liminal states of consciousness like dreams and the imagination overlap with the supernatural world.

‘Haunted by “Lenore”: The Fragment as Gothic Form, Creative Practice and Textual Evolution.’ Gothic Studies 23.2 (2021): 132–147.

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This article examines the processes of fragmentation and haunting surrounding the explosion of competing translations, in 1796, of Gottfried August Bürger’s German ballad ‘Lenore’. While the fragment has become known as a core narrative device of the Gothic, less attention has been paid to the ways that the fragment and fragmentation operate as dynamic, living phenomena within the Gothic’s central processes of memory, inspiration, creation, dissemination and evolution. Taking ‘Lenore’ as a case study, this essay aims to redress this critical gap by illuminating the ways that fragmentation haunts the mind, the text, and the history of the Gothic as a process as much as a product. It demonstrates that fragmentation operates along lines of cannibalism, resurrection and haunting to establish a pattern of influence that paves the way for modern forms of gothic intertextuality and adaptation. Importantly, it thereby locates fragmentation as a process at the heart of the Gothic mode.

‘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, 2021, pp. 613-629.

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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.
Link to Book on AmazonLink to Book on Publisher’s Website

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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.

‘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). [Link to Open Access Article]

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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.


‘Fairies and Science.’ Fairies: A Companion. Ed. Simon Bacon and Lorna Piatti-Farnell. Peter Lang.


‘New Dracula Movie Sinks its Teeth into Vampire Legend.’ The Lighthouse. Macquarie University, 17 August 2023.
[Read Free Online]

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Gothic literature scholar Dr Kirstin Mills reviews the latest adaptation of Bram Stoker’s horror story, Dracula: Voyage of the Demeter.

‘Why we’ll take Wednesday every day of the week.’ The Lighthouse. Macquarie University, 21 December 2022.
[Read Free Online]

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Do you like your TV shows kooky and spooky? How about mysterious, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny? If you answered yes to any of these, then you’ll love Netflix’s Wednesday, the latest (re)incarnation of The Addams Family. Gothic literature specialist Dr Kirstin Mills reviews ‘Wednesday’ (Netflix).

‘Review: Why We’re Still Haunted by Jane Eyre.’ The Lighthouse. Macquarie University, 8 June 2022.
[Read Free Online]

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Jane Eyre is a story that still haunts us 175 years after its publication. Gothic literature specialist Kirstin Mills explores what it is about this strange novel that keeps us coming back to it, and also reviews a new stage adaptation.

‘Lockdown Binge: the best Victorian-era TV shows to watch right now.’ The Lighthouse. Macquarie University, 9 July 2021.
[Read Free Online]

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Why is it that in the 21st century, we love to reimagine 19th-century Victorians? Dr Kirstin Mills, a specialist in gothic literature, explores our fixation on a fascinating era.

‘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.


Dr Kirstin Mills, Kirstin Mills, Gothic Scholar, Academic, Interview, Public Article, Ghosts Expert, Macquarie University, ghost stories

Dr Kirstin Mills interviewed as a scholar of the gothic and supernatural.

Interview with Sarah Macdonald, Evenings, ABC Radio Sydney, 13 July 2021.
[Listen on YouTube]
(An interview about why we love the Victorian era)

‘Why Tell Ghost Stories?’ Interview with Nadine Morton, The Northern Beaches Review, Sydney, 24 February 2021; reprinted in The Canberra Times, 25 February, 2021.
[Northern Beaches Review] [Canberra Times]
(An interview about why we’re fascinated by ghosts and why we continue to tell ghost stories. Part of an article on local ghost legends in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney)

‘Shelley Conference: Kirstin Mills on Mary Shelley and the Landscapes of the Mind.’ Interview. The K-SAA Blog, Keats-Shelley Association of America, 16 February, 2018.
“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.”
[Read Free Online]


Host and Guest Speaker with Rachel Baldacchino. ‘175th Anniversary of Jane Eyre.’ From the Lighthouse, Podcast by the Discipline of Literature, Macquarie University, 16 October 2022. [Listen Free Online]

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“This week we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre! In this episode, Gothic Literature specialist Kirstin Mills is joined by Master of Research candidate Rachel Baldacchino to explore what makes this Victorian novel and its many adaptations so enduringly popular.”

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”


Macquarie University Research Profile:

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.