Wednesday 12th October 2022


7-8.30pm BST

Caroline Watson’s 1809 Engraving of George Romney’s Portrait of Emma Hart as Miranda. © WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

‘Abodes of horror have frequently been described, and castles, filled with spectres and chimeras, conjured up by the magic spell of genius to harrow the soul, and absorb the wondering mind. But, formed of such stuff as dreams are made of, what were they to the mansion of despair, in one corner of which Maria sat, endeavouring to recall her scattered thoughts!’ 

So opens Mary Wollstonecraft’s unfinished final novel Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman (1798). Although best known as the pioneering proto-feminist who penned the powerful Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Wollstonecraft also wrote in the Gothic mode, using the genre to explore her political ideas. In this interview with Deputy Director Kim Simpson, Laura Kirkley talks about Wollstonecraft’s engagement with the Gothic in both fiction and non-fiction, exploring her unfinished novel Maria, her lesser-known Gothic work The Cave of Fancy, and her Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution (1794). 

A live Q&A session will follow for those who wish to continue the conversation. 


About Dr Laura Kirkley

Dr Laura Kirkley is a Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at Newcastle University. She is one of the team behind the Gothic Women project, which shares the work of female Gothic writers who have been neglected by history. Her monograph, Mary Wollstonecraft: Cosmopolitan, was published by Edinburgh University press in August 2022. You can find her on Twitter @drlaurakirkley 

Tickets: £5

All proceeds from this event go towards our campaign to acquire Wollstonecraft’s Posthumous Works. 

This is an online event. Ticket holders will be emailed links on the day of the event. The interview, pre-recorded to ensure quality, will premier on YouTube at 7pm but will be available to watch for those with the link afterwards. Please note the Zoom Q&A starting at 8pm is live and will not be recorded. 

If you do not receive joining details by midday (UK time) on the day of the event, please email with your order number.