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Penny Dreadful and Adaptation

Reanimating and Transforming the Monster

Palgrave Macmillan


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  • 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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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

Editors and Affiliations

  • Dept of English, Comm & 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