Shakespeare and the Undead

Graham Holderness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter is based on the work of the Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture Research Project at the University of Hertfordshire. The project relates the undead in literature, art, and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption, and social change, and was initiated by a conference in April 2010. The project has generated a series of events, publications, and inspiring discussions. Select papers from the 2010 conference have appeared in a special edition of Gothic Studies (May 2013); other papers and specially commissioned chapters appear in a monograph, Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present (Manchester: MUP, 2013). Further publications will follow and more conferences are planned, including ‘The Company of Wolves': Sociality, Animality, and Subjectivity in Literary and Cultural Narratives-Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Feral Humans' - a conference to be held at UH in July 2015. OGOM has generated a Gothic Reading Group, and recruited 2 PhD students, one working on vampires and the other on werewolves.
The project is clearly unusual in deriving its content directly from popular culture, and in its capacity to network with fans and enthusiasts well beyond the normal limitations of the academy. Graham Holderness's Black and Deep Desires: William Shakespeare Vampire Hunter (Top Hat Books, 2015), draws Shakespeare studies and historical fiction into the environment of the undead. This chapter will explore how the novel was produced by linking academic considerations with popular enthusiasm and exploratory creative writing. It will reference other parallel experiments such as Lori Handl’s Shakespeare Undead and the film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The main objective is to reveal the creative potentiality of a Shakespeare liberated from the academy and thrown wide open to communities of users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Shakespeare User
Subtitle of host publicationCritical and Creative Appropriations in a Networked Culture
EditorsLouise Geddes, Valerie M. Fazel
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-61015-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-61014-6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameReproducing Shakespeare
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • Shakespeare and Twitter
  • Shakespeare and Facebook
  • Shakespeare and Social Media
  • Shakespeare online presence
  • 21st Century Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare in the digital age


Dive into the research topics of 'Shakespeare and the Undead'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this