“Upgrade, Chapters and a PhD Project, Oh my!” New Year Update 2022

Hi all! As it’s the new year, I thought I’d drop by to provide you all with a short update as to all the happenings here at the Wolf’s Den. Needless to say, it has been quite busy since my last update!

Since the last time I spoke, I’m delighted to say that I’ve become a father for the very first time. My wife and I, welcomed our son into the world on the 29th December 2021 and since then life has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Sleep is currently in short supply, feedings are regular, and there is a constant struggle to stop the dog showing his affection for his new family member by licking his face. Other than this, it has been a life changing experience for us both, one that we are slowly, but surely coming to grips with… we think!

Regarding my project, since last time I posted I’m delighted to say there has been some great progress on my PhD. Not only have I completed my introduction and first chapter, but I am preparing to upgrade in the next few months and have currently completed the first draft of my documentation to do so. Perhaps more importantly, since last year my project has really started to solidify itself. I have also been able to present my research at a conference, and even spoken as a guest speaker at the Gothica reading group (see here for more details!). All in all, despite the relative issues surrounding the pandemic, I feel its been rather successful – I even managed to step foot in a library for the first time in over 18 months. Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel.

As mentioned, my project has now centered itself on an analysis of the nineteenth century werewolf, attempting to become what might be described as a ‘new’ history, similar in style to Nick Groom’s brilliant book on the vampire (see: here). In the last year, I have completed a first chapter which has focused on the historical construction of the werewolf within the Victorian era, specifically focusing on the period’s obsession with unilinear histories. Alongside this, I also completed my introduction, which helped in the sense that it allowed me to not only set a structure for my future work, but also to “set out the stall” with regards to many contextual strands that needed to be addressed, prior to going into further detail later. Alongside this project, I have also worked on two other projects in the works, however I can’t share too much on these at the moment.

So I suppose the big question for this entry now is what to expect in the coming year? As it stands, I have an upgrade to submit and some edits to another project nearing completion. Once this is done, it should be full steam ahead on my PhD Project, particularly my next chapter, which will look at the relationship between folklore and popular culture in nineteenth century Werewolf stories. I have already planned a basic structure for this chapter, and have even written parts of it based on work I have already undertaken. I should hope by this time next year to have this chapter (at least partially) completed, so that I can begin work on the final chapter.

Alongside this, I am also questioning whether to attend a few conferences, although admittedly, this might be difficult with a newborn at home! Maybe another holiday to somewhere werewolf related might be in order? Hexham? Dartmoor? The Peak District? Who knows!

Anyway, that’s my update for the start of the year – hopefully I’ll be back later in the year with a few things to keep you all posted on. In the meantime, if you want to keep up to date with me and get a few more monstrous folklore tidbits (usually on a Thursday) please feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram!

Published by cthomsonphd

Craig Thomson is a PhD candidate from Birkbeck, University of London whose research interests include: Horror/Gothic literature, Monster Theory and Folklore Studies. His current research focuses on the re-emergence of the cultural figure of the Werewolf within the popular Gothic literature of the late 19th and early 20th century.

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