Our monsters, ourselves: Desire, death and deviance in the Gothic narratives and how they in-form an inquiry of currere

Shelby Janicki


This paper explores the idea that the creation of the monsters’ existence at the hands of Gothic authors, such as Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Brahm Stoker, serves as fictionalized examples of the inquiry of currere (or “ficto-currere” [McDermott, 2019]), and the exploration of “possibility.” Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker’s social and personal life experiences have evidently influenced their writings. This auto-ethnographic element of their stories, this self-examination and incorporation of their life experiences, becomes their currere. Through this lens of currere, their stories can tell us a lot about controversial topics that were too taboo to straightforwardly address during the 1800s, when they were written—topics such as mental and physical illnesses or queering sexual identity. The author suggests that this depends not on being rationalized, but on being “poeticized,” as happens through the three examples of speculative fiction examined here. The author extends the dread and desire of the monstrous “afflicted” identities of these authors within their historical contexts toward curriculum. The monstrosity of the desires and the dread for each of the gothic authors examined in this paper is considered from the perspective of currere-as-inquiry.


currere, ficto-currere, speculative fiction, autoethnography, horror, identity

Full Text:


JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

NOTICE: As of December 2008, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (Volume 24, Issue 1) and all future issues
are available freely and exclusively online to all individuals and institutions. More Information...

Contributors to the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing retain copyright to their work.

All other content: Copyright © Foundation for Curriculum Theory. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 1942-2563