Much has been written about the (Female) Gothic, the Final Girl, and hagiography, but never have the three been brought together. Although themes of religion, saintliness, martyrisation, and turmoil permeate Gothic literature and rhetoric, the direct correlation between medieval saints’ lives and contemporary victim-heroes is minimal at best. Thus, the overarching question of my research project is: “How can early manifestations of the afflicted female martyr in hagiography help us to re-imagine and expand the Final Girl victim-hero trope?”
My research intends to change/challenge the perspectives through which the Gothic has been viewed, introducing the deeply historic and visual tradition of hagiography’s illuminated manuscripts, stained-glass windows, and cults-of-personality to the Gothic, a genre that has always valued ekphrastic modes. Such a comparative (re)tracing and (re)reading of the medieval with the Contemporary argues for a different understanding of how sanctity is modelled, especially in consideration of the continuous narratives regarding tormented female bodies, the intersection of (un)willing martyrs, the symbols we turn them into, and the monstrous potential such women possess(ed).
Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Meaghan has pursued research in numerous fields: Mid 19th-Century Sensational Literature; Polish posters from 1955-1989; Feminist art in 1970s Poland; and now Medieval Hagiography & Contemporary Gothic/Horror. When not researching Meaghan enjoys spending time with friends, spoiling her pet cat Bowie, watching slasher films, being outdoors, spreading her love for actor Nicolas Cage, and co-hosting her pet project Modern Medieval: The Podcast.