CFP: Eating the Rude: Hannibal Lecter and the Fannibals, Criminals, and Legacy of America’s Favorite Cannibal


Call for Papers

Eating the Rude: Hannibal Lecter and the Fannibals, Criminals, and Legacy of America’s Favorite Cannibal


Editors: Kyle Moody, Ph.D. and Nicholas Yanes, Ph.D.
Publisher: McFarland Press

Deadline for Abstracts: March 18, 2016

Description of the Book:

When Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon was released in 1981, the literary community quickly became enraptured by its cannibal antagonist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Popular interest in “Hannibal the Cannibal” would only increase with the release of 1988’s The Silence of the Lambs and the 1991 movie adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. After several sequels were produced live action adaptations of Harris’ Hannibal books were stopped until 2013, when NBC took a chance and approved of a Hannibal Lecter TV series to be created by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller.

Loosely defined as a prequel, the series Hannibal focused on Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s relationship with FBI Special Investigator Will Graham. With unique visualizations, off-kilter music, character reimaginings that changed race and gender, food culture, and several story arcs that addressed LGBTQ themes in a specific and idiosyncratic manner, Hannibal was a critically acclaimed show that is begging to be analyzed by scholars of all types.

Expectations for Proposals and Essays:
Ideal proposals focusing on any aspect of Hannibal texts from any period will contain a clear thesis, an abstract which is two to three paragraphs long and a list of potential sources. Essays need to be MLA formatted – parenthetical citations, not footnotes. And it is up to the author(s) to get permission to reprint copyrighted material. Though this should go without saying, we will not accept work that is plagiarized or that has been published elsewhere.

Proposed Topics:

1. Challenging the Canonical – Adaptation, Interpretation, and Re-Imaginings: Producing Hannibal, Race and Gender Bending

From adapting the books for television in the shadow of a movie franchise, to the multiple gender and race changes in the series, Hannibal pushed the limits of what people expect from a show based on a book series. Essays on this topic will examine issues of adaptation, interpretation, and re-imagining in the context of Hannibal.

2. Food for Thought for a Cannibal: The Food Culture of Hannibal

Focusing on a cannibal, a primary focus of the show was the presentation of food – whether it was human meat or not. With a sophisticated approach to food, Hannibal provides a fascinating presentation of food culture. Essays on this topic will look use food studies to examine Hannibal’s approach to cooking and his perspective of humans as food.

3. LGBTQ: The Depiction of the Queer in Hannibal’s World

In addition to characters being re-imagined as a different sexual orientation, the show’s two main male characters develop a relationship that evolves from heterosexual to possibly homosexual. As such, essays on this topic would examine the Hannibal/Will dynamic and their ancillary relationships in terms of Queer theory/analysis.

4. Diagnosing a Killer in a Lethal World – What is Hannibal and the other Killers

Unlike many shows centered on serial killers, Hannibal is deeply committed to a psychological deconstruction of Hannibal and all of the other killers that appear in the show. Other programs illustrate binary models of good and evil, but Hannibal illustrates its characters with an empathetic model that allows the audience to see inside of the character. What’s more, almost every brutal action on the show that is performed by a killer is seen in flashback as being performed by Will Graham, which illustrates both his tenuous grasp on sanity and the real horror of the actions taking place. Essays will discuss how this work shifts the paradigm of most shows focused around serial killer violence, which in turn showcases how Hannibal was a show that didn’t focus on justice but rather a psychological lack.

Hannibal also has a wide variety of imaginative killers. Essays on these characters will examine their literary and real world inspirations, while also discussing their symbolic role in the show as extensions of the main characters.

5. Fannibals – Hannibal’s Hungry Fan culture

The fans of Hannibal were unlike the core market for Harris’s novels and previous adaptations due to the proliferation of social media during the production and dissemination of Fuller’s vision. From 2013 to 2015, Hannibal’s core fanbase was heavily involved in remediating texts. Fuller and his writing team would also pay attention to the fan reactions to the show, and would also engage with them on social media.

Essays on this topic will examine Hannibal’s fandom and its relationship to the show, along with differences from fandom surrounding previous texts and adaptations.

6. Sights and Sounds of Hannibal’s dream world – the Fashion and Styles in Hannibal

The initial reaction to Hannibal as a serialized television program could be best described as lackluster because it was expected that the show would likely fall into the broadcast, wide-ranging CSI model. However, the show quickly illustrated a preference for the psychological aspects of serial killers and mentally ill psychopaths, and nowhere was this more explicit than the beautiful dreamscapes created by the production designers. Each venture into the hallucinogenic dreamscapes provided a window into the minds of the killers, as well as the greater damage that his empathy with murderers had on Will Graham’s mind. Essays on this topic will examine how the series was visualized, both in terms of episodic considerations and series-long visual conventions.

Additionally, the sartorial choices on Hannibal were unique considering the network model. The show illustrated Hannibal the character as a perfectly composed beast, right down to his clothing choices and immaculate presentation. When the show trekked to Europe for the beginning of its third season, the lush presentation was reflected in the clothing choices of its characters to show their evolution. For example, Dr. Alana Bloom evolved from wearing more appropriate federal government apparel to clothes that approximated the cold glamour of Hannibal Lecter. Essays on these topics will examine Hannibal’s world building in terms of character design, set design, storytelling, visual motifs, and other forms of universe creation.

7. Your Own Brilliant Idea?

If you have an idea for this collection that we haven’t suggested, feel free to send it to us for feedback. We are always open to new ideas.

Contact Information:

For more specific information for proposed topics please contact the editors at:

Author Information:
Kyle Moody
Assistant Professor of Communications Media
Fitchburg State University

Nicholas Yanes, PhD


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