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Penny Dreadful and Adaptation

Reanimating and Transforming the Monster

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Experiments with recent interdisciplinary methodologies to understand the mechanisms of adaptation more broadly

  • Conceptualizes adaptation beyond the traditional dyad of literature and screen media

  • Explores the relationship between text, context, and intertext to understand how meaning is made and remade

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture (PSADVC)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-031-12180-7
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Hardcover Book USD 159.99
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Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction

    • Julie Grossman, Will Scheibel
    Pages 1-11
  3. Welcome to the Night: Issues of Reading and Media

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 13-13
    2. The Medium Is the Model

      • Thomas Leitch
      Pages 15-30
  4. Anatomy of a Monster: Horror and the Gothic in Literature and on the Screen

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 69-69
  5. The Monster Unbound: Theatrical Performance, Western Dime Novels, and TV Noir

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 139-139
  6. Meanings of Monstrosity: Identity, Difference, and Experience

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 195-195
    2. Penny Dreadful’s Palimpsestuous Bride of Frankenstein

      • Lissette Lopez Szwydky
      Pages 197-215

About this book

This edited collection is the first book-length critical study of the Showtime-Sky Atlantic television series Penny Dreadful (2014-2016), which also includes an analysis of Showtime’s 2020 spin-off City of Angels. Chapters examine the status of the series as a work of twenty-first-century cable television, contemporary Gothic-horror, and intermedial adaptation, spanning sources as diverse as eighteenth and nineteenth-century British fiction and poetry, American dime novels, theatrical performance, Hollywood movies, and fan practices. Featuring iconic monsters such as Dr. Frankenstein and his Creature, the “bride” of Frankenstein, Dracula, the werewolf, Dorian Gray, and Dr. Jekyll, Penny Dreadful is a mash-up of familiar texts and new Gothic figures such as spiritualist Vanessa Ives, played by the magnetic Eva Green. As a recent example of adapting multiple sources in different media, Penny Dreadful has as much to say about the Romantic and Victorian eras as it does about our present-day fascination with screen monsters. 


  • Fandom
  • Queer Sublime
  • Erotic Triangle
  • Queer Authorship
  • Frankenstein
  • Anthology
  • Adaptation
  • Canonization
  • Film noir
  • Spinoff
  • Marquis de Sade
  • Gothic
  • Television
  • Dracula
  • Dime Novel
  • The Uncanny
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty


Penny Dreadful and Adaptation is a brilliantly curated collection of essays responding to a brilliantly curated collection of media monsters. Julie Grossman and Will Scheibel have summoned an array of expert contributors as our guides to the liminal Demimonde: chapters range across Victorian, cosmopolitan and Sadean gothics, ‘quality’ TV as a kind of dialogue with fandom, and Penny Dreadful’s own spin-off progeny. Posing new questions about adaptation and its uncanny/medial qualities, this volume will inspire its very own aca-fans and dedicated Dreadfuls alike.” (Professor Matt Hills, author of Fan Cultures and The Pleasures of Horror)

“Drawing on a wide range of contexts, methods and traditions of representation, Penny Dreadful and Adaptation is endlessly insightful and nuanced. Through the breadth of approaches adopted, this volume’s contributors investigate the unbounded textuality of Showtime’s landmark television series but also, through this, shed vital new light on the long traditions of retelling that are at the heart of Gothic and horrific cultural forms and their contemporary cultural manifestations.” (Kate Egan, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media, Northumbria University, UK)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Departments of English and Communication and Film Studies, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, USA

    Julie Grossman

  • Department of English, Syracuse University, New York, USA

    Will Scheibel

About the editors

Julie Grossman is a professor of English and Communication and Film Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, USA. Her monographs include Literature, Film, and Their Hideous Progeny (2015), Ida Lupino, Director (with Therese Grisham, 2017), Twin Peaks (with Will Scheibel, 2020), and The Femme Fatale (2020). She is co-editor (with R. Barton Palmer) of the essay collection Adaptation in Visual Culture (2017) and (with Marc C. Conner and R. Barton Palmer) Screening Contemporary Irish Fiction and Drama (2022). 

Will Scheibel is an associate professor of English at Syracuse University, USA, where he teaches film and screen studies. He is the author of Gene Tierney: Star of Hollywood’s Home Front (2022) and, with Julie Grossman, co-author of Twin Peaks (2020).

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Penny Dreadful and Adaptation

  • Book Subtitle: Reanimating and Transforming the Monster

  • Editors: Julie Grossman, Will Scheibel

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-12179-1Published: 31 January 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-12182-1Due: 14 February 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-12180-7Published: 30 January 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2634-629X

  • Series E-ISSN: 2634-6303

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVIII, 282

  • Number of Illustrations: 2 b/w illustrations, 19 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Adaptation Studies, Television Studies, Gothic Studies

Buying options

eBook USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-12180-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)