Location: Bowdoin / Aviva Briefel


Aviva Briefel

Professor of English and Cinema Studies

Contact Information


Massachusetts Hall - 205

Teaching this semester

CINE 1104/ENGL 1104. From Page to Screen: Film Adaptation and Narrative

Explores the topic of adaptation, specifically, the ways in which cinematic texts transform literary narratives into visual forms. Begins with the premise that every adaptation is an interpretation, a rewriting/rethinking of an original text that offers an analysis of that text. Central to class discussions is close attention to the differences and similarities in the ways in which written and visual texts approach narratives, the means through which each medium constructs and positions its audience, and the types of critical discourses that emerge around literature and film. May include works by Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Anita Loos, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ridley Scott.

ENGL 3024/GSWS 3320. Victorian Epics

Advanced seminar. Examines one of the foremost literary forms of the Victorian period: the long novel. By focusing on a few central texts, investigates the ways in which narrative length shapes stories about wide-ranging issues related to nationalism, science, technology, and empire, as well as allegedly local issues regarding domesticity, familial relations, personal adornment, and romance. Authors may include Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope.

Aviva Briefel


  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 2000

Teaching areas

  • Victorian literature and culture; the horror film; women and film; cinematic adaptation.

Research interests

  •  Narratives of art forgery, the horror film, Victorian empire and the body, and the Victorian gothic.


Book Projects:

Impossible Ghosts: Material Culture at the Limits of Evidence (in progress).

The Racial Hand in the Victorian ImaginationCambridge University Press (September 2015)

Horror after 9/11 World of Fear, Cinema of Terror.  Volume on the politics of the horror film, co-edited with Sam J. Miller, University of Texas Press (November 2011)

 "The Deceivers: Art Forgery and Identity in the Nineteenth Century", Cornell University Press (2006)

Aviva Briefel - The Racial Hand in the Victorian Imagination Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture Horror after 9/11 World of Fear, Cinema of Terror Edited by Aviva Briefel and Sam J. Miller The Decievers Cover

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

“‘Freaks of Furniture’: The Useless Energy of Haunted Things.”  Victorian Studies 59.2 (Winter  2017): 209-34.  

 “Parenting through Horror: Reassurance in Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014).” Camera Obscura 95 (2017): 1-27.

“The Art Forger’s Innocence,” Fake—Fälschungen, wie sie im Buche stehen, ed. Henry Keazor, Universität Heidelberg, 2016.

“Spectral Matter: The Afterlife of Clothes in the Nineteenth-Century Ghost Story.” Victorian Review 41.1  (Spring 2015): 67-88.

“Rules of Digital Attraction: The Lure of the Ghost in Joel Anderson’s Lake Mungo.” Quarterly Review of Film and Videohttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10509208.2016.1192909.

"Mickey Horror: Escape from Tomorrow and the Gothic Attack on Disney," Film Quarterly 68.4 (Summer 2015): 36-43.

“On the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition.”  BRANCH.  branchcollective.org.

The Men Who Knew Too Much: Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock (Oxford UP, 2012).

“The Potter’s Thumb/The Writer’s Hand: Manual Production and Victorian Colonial Narratives,” Novel 42.2 (2009): 253-60.

“Cosmetic Tragedies: Failed Masquerade in Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the Lady,” Victorian Literature and Culture 37 (2009): 463-81.

“What Some Ghosts Don’t Know: Spectral Incognizance and the Horror Film,” Narrative 17.1 (Jan. 2009): 95-108.

 “Take Me: The Rhetoric of Donation,” The Anatomy of Body Worlds: Critical Essays on Gunther von Hagens’ Plastinated Cadavers, eds. T. Christine Jespersen, Alicita Rodríguez, and Joseph Starr (Jefferson, NC:  McFarland, 2008).

The Men Who Knew Too Much: Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock (Oxford UP, 2012).“Hands of Beauty, Hands of Horror: Fear and Egyptian Art at the Fin de Siècle,” Victorian Studies 50.2 (2008): 263-71.

"Monsters and Critics," Film Quarterly 61.3 (2008).

"Christina Rossetti," Encyclopedia of British Literary History, Oxford University Press.

"Monster Pains: Masochism, Menstruation, and Identification in the Horror Film," Film Quarterly 58.3 (2005)
Abstract | PDF (194 KB) | PDF Plus (222 KB)

"Tautological Crimes: Why Women Can't Steal Jewels," Novel 37.1/2 (2004)

Review of Mighall, Robert, A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Nineteenth-Century Contexts 25.3 (2003).

Horror Film Cover"Illusory Idols/Sacred Objects: The Fake in Freud's 'The Moses of Michelangelo,'" American Imago 60.1 (2003). To be reprinted in a collection by Cambridge Scholars Press.
( Access article in HTML » locked muse members only )
( Access article in PDF » locked muse members only )

"'How much did you pay for this place?': Fear, Entitlement, and Urban Space in Bernard Rose's Candyman," Camera Obscura 37 (1997). Co-authored with Sianne Ngai. Reprinted in The Horror Film Reader, eds. Alain Silver and James Ursini (New York: Limelight Editions/Proscenium Publishers, 2000).