The Shock and Horror Picture Show: Étienne-Gaspard Robertson and the 19th-century phantasmagoria

The first time I had a sense of what a 19th-century phantasmagoria would really have been like was the Gothic Nightmares show at Tate Britain in 2006, which included not only Fuseli’s iconic Nightmare, but a special darkened room with a slide show projected on the walls, and suitably ghastly sound effects. That experience stayed with me, and whenContinue reading “The Shock and Horror Picture Show: Étienne-Gaspard Robertson and the 19th-century phantasmagoria”

Vampires and Victorians: Science and superstition in 19th-century London

When it comes to timing, I’ve had two fantastic strokes of luck as a novelist. The first was that I decided to bring my Dickens-related book, Tom-All-Alone’s, to a close at the end of November 1850. Why was that lucky? Because it meant that when I chose to follow that novel with a sequel about theContinue reading “Vampires and Victorians: Science and superstition in 19th-century London”

Waking the (un)dead: Myths, monsters, and remaking a classic text

When I published Murder at Mansfield Park in 2010 I did an interview about it on BBC radio, and I remember the almost breathless awe in the interviewer’s voice as she said, “This is your first novel, and you’re trying to write like Jane Austen?” Amazing though it may sound, that was the first time that it reallyContinue reading “Waking the (un)dead: Myths, monsters, and remaking a classic text”