Sarah Burns / Indiana University Bloomington

Better for Haunts: Victorian Houses and the Modern Imagination
September 5, 2012 - 5:30pm


Who can forget the foreboding Victorian mansion that looms over the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho?  An instant icon, this house with its Mansard roof went forth and multiplied, becoming the abode of the weird and uncanny in countless movies, mystery novels, Gothic romances, horror comics, and even Disneyland.  But where did it come from, and why did it have such an impact?  To probe such questions, this lecture explores the haunted house and its representation in the elite and popular arts of the early twentieth century.

Sarah Burns is the Ruth N. Halls Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University Bloomington. She has also been Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Art and Material Culture at Stanford University. Burns won the 2010 Distinguished Alumna Award, from the College of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2008-2009, she held the Terra Foundation for American Art Fellowship in Art History at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Burns is the author of four books: Painting the Dark Side: Art and the Gothic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America; American Art to 1900: A Documentary History, co-authored with John Davis; Inventing the Modern Artist: Art and Culture in Gilded Age America; and Pastoral Inventions: Rural Life in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture.  

Burns holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, an M.A. from the University of California, Davis, and a B.A. from the University of Chicago.


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