Location: Bowdoin / Aviva Briefel


Aviva Briefel

Professor of English and Cinema Studies

Contact Information


Massachusetts Hall - 205

Teaching this semester

CINE 1101. Film Narrative

An introduction to a variety of methods used to study motion pictures, with consideration given to films from different countries and time periods. Examines techniques and strategies used to construct films, including mise-en-scčne, editing, sound, and the orchestration of film techniques in larger formal systems. Surveys some of the contextual factors shaping individual films and our experiences of them (including mode of production, genre, authorship, and ideology). No previous experience with film studies is required.

ENGL 1018/GSWS 1018. Jane Eyre, Everywhere

Charlotte Brontė's 1847 novel, “Jane Eyre,” had a profound impact not only on subsequent nineteenth-century fiction, but also on twentieth- and twenty-first century literary representations of female experience. Begins with a close reading of Brontė's novel and then moves on to exploring modern literary rewritings of this narrative. Considers both how Brontė's themes are carried out through these various texts and why her narrative has been such a rich source of reinterpretation. In addition to Brontė, authors may include Du Maurier, James, Messud, Park, and Rhys.

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).