by Leah Richards and John R. Ziegler
[page 7] Welcome to another issue of Supernatural Studies! It seems fitting, given the state of our world and of the arts and humanities within it, that this issue is loosely unified by challenges to old ideas and analyses that consider the super- or extranatural as products of our age.
This issue opens with Jan Čapek’s article on the film Annihilation and Lovecraft’s “The Colour out of Space” expanding Lovecraft’s notion of the inhuman as meaning incompatible with the human to encompass the innatural, incompatible with nature. Engaging with humanity’s alienation from nature as a facet of the Anthropocene, Čapek’s article is exciting and timely, and will, we suspect, provide the basis for future discussions of Richard Stanley’s recent film adaptation of “Colour” in relation to the anxieties of the current age. Next, Damian Shaw interrogates existing analyses of Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, challenging the readings of several episodes as supernatural, exploring them instead as natural phenomena and arguing why such a distinction is important. By reclassifying these occurrences, Shaw argues for a more revolutionary reading of the novel despite its restoration of the status quo.
Next, Mary Bricker offers a reading of the lesser-known Brothers Grimm tale “Hans My Hedgehog” (one of your editors’ favorites) that places this and other folk tales of the animal-human hybrid firmly within the purview of contemporary arts and sciences. Finally, Chris Woodyard and Simon Young provide material that challenges beliefs about European folklore in America. Through meticulous research and cross-referencing, Woodyard and Young demonstrate that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was right: emigrants did bring their folktales with them.
The issue concludes with the triumphant return of book reviews to our pages; while we will continue to publish reviews on a rolling basis [page 8] on our open-access website, we will also publish these reviews in our non-themed issues.
In closing, we are delighted to announce our third annual conference, to be held at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, in March of 2020. After fantastic events at Bronx Community College, City University of New York (2018) and the College of Mount Saint Vincent (2019), we’re stepping just across the border of New York City and into the wilds of Westchester County.
Stay spooky, friends!
Leah Richards, Ph.D.
John R. Ziegler, Ph.D.
MLA citation (print):
Richards, Leah, and John R. Ziegler. "Editors' Note." Supernatural Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, 2019, pp. 7-8.