Are werewolves for real? Two authors who have researched and written about the creatures will discuss them in a Halloween Eve lecture at the University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Alexis Easley and Shannon Scott will read from their anthology, Terrifying Transformations: An Anthology of Victorian Werewolf Fiction, 1838-1896, from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Room 108 (the O’Shaughnessy Room) of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The library-sponsored lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, and copies of the anthology will be available for sale and autograph.
The anthology features vividly written stories, some taken from the pages of rare 19th century periodicals.
A member of the St. Thomas English faculty, Easley is a scholar of Victorian journalism and last year became editor of Victorian Periodicals Review, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
Scott, an adjunct English professor at St. Thomas and St. Catherine University, has long been fascinated with werewolf stories, especially “the transformative nature of their bodies, the shift to an animal mind, to instinct and physical power.”
While Scott was working on her master’s degree in English, she took a Gothic novel course from Easley. A class paper Scott wrote on Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf was expanded to become her master’s essay. Later, the two decided to team up as co-editors for the anthology, which was published a year ago by Valancourt Books.
“In some stories, werewolves are violent and terrifying emanations of the ‘beast within,’” Easley said, “and in others they are benevolent creatures who have been unfairly marginalized by mainstream society.
“Whether male or female, demonic or misunderstood, werewolves tell us a great deal about our own anxieties and fears, both past and present.”
Some of the werewolf stories in their anthology were written by familiar writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and Rudyard Kipling. Others were accessible only through archival research at the University of Minnesota’s Wilson Library and the British Library in London.
More recently, Scott wrote a chapter in the forthcoming anthology, She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves.