we are like to run mad with sorrow & Against the Old Weird and the New Weird

Michael Wheatley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


An inherently individualistic mode of writing, Weird Fiction is lauded for denying homogenising formal structures and defying singular generic classification. Yet, critically and commercially, the Weird has been confined to the flawed categorisations of the Old Weird and the New Weird. In the context of critical analyses, these categories propagate myriad misconceptions, suppress the difference innate to the mode, and silence the creative contributions of marginalised writers such as Clive Barker. Their application prevents a holistic perspective of the Weird, favouring instead easily compartmentalised terms with which to contrast and compare. Utilising elements of Queer Theory and Genre Studies, this thesis argues against the continued application of the Old Weird and the New Weird, seeking instead to channel the Weird’s purported destabilisation into its criticism. The thesis presents an initial conceptualisation of these concerns, and their potential remediation, alongside case studies of how such alternative criticism might manifest. The creative study, we are like to run mad with sorrow, further articulates that the Old Weird and the New Weird are fallacious, combining the themes of Queer Theory and concerns of Weird authors across its chronology, written and unwritten, to prove the existence of a Weird Novel, neither Old nor New.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Roberts, Adam, Supervisor
  • Williams, Eley, Advisor
Award date1 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Weird Fiction
  • Queer Theory
  • Ecocriticism
  • Gothic
  • Genre Studies

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