Allan Lloyd Smith Obituary

Allan Lloyd Smith, a renowned British scholar of 19th-century American culture, passed away at the age of 65 due to cancer. He gained recognition in the 1980s after publishing three books centred around classic authors of 19th-century American literature. His extensive knowledge of psychology and commitment to the darker, more morbid and violent side of American imagination made him a leading figure in his field. Smith uncovered a hidden extreme popular culture that lay beneath the surface of traditional American life, drawing upon the wild conventions of gothic writing in Britain. He made noteworthy contributions to the study of gothic and the uncanny and was at the forefront of the growing academic interest in popular culture and movies.

Smith’s academic career was characterised by a significant intellectual transformation. His doctoral dissertation, The Analysis of Motives: Early American Psychology and Fiction (1980), demonstrated the meticulousness of research expected from a major American research university. When he published his second book, Eve Tempted: Writing and Sexuality in Hawthorne’s Fiction, in 1984, there was a new postmodernist intellectual framework present that he remained faithful to for the rest of his career. He became acquainted with Freud’s essay on Das Unheimliche (The Uncanny), and became immersed in the works of Derrida, Lacan, Foucault and Paul de Man, altering his perception of American literature drastically.

Uncanny American Fiction: Medusa’s Face (1989), Smith’s third book of the decade, imported something of the new "French Freud" into the study of American culture through Lacan and Derrida. He explained that indeterminacy, enigma, suppression and repression rooted in sexual interactions make the uncanny a vital mode of American writing.

Allan Lloyd was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, and lived in Southport, Merseyside, until the age of 10 when his family relocated to Lutterworth in Leicestershire. His father worked on the design of diesel locomotives for British Leyland while Lloyd studied at local schools and later earned a degree in history from Sussex University. He received an English Speaking Union Fellowship for graduate study at the University of Indiana, where he later became a teaching assistant. He married his first wife Sylvia Ryder in 1966 and returned to England in 1970 to work as a lecturer at Keele University.

In 1973, he married Barbara Smith, an old friend from Sussex University and mother of three children, Walter, Jacob and Lindsay. Together they had Rosy, Anny and Cressida, deciding to change their last name to Lloyd Smith to end confusion between their different surnames. Smith worked as a lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich from 1973 and served as head of American studies several times. He was instrumental in promoting the significance of computers in teaching and produced a pioneering CD-Rom on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Smith organised the first-ever International Gothic Conference in 1991 and became president of the International Gothic Association when it was founded in 1995. Together with colleagues such as David Punter, Victor Sage and Rosemary Jackson, he helped Norwich become a hub for studying the worst fears and horrors of the Western imagination.

Smith was highly regarded as a teacher and supervisor of research students. He provided his students with the confidence to trust their own judgment, leaving behind a rich legacy of knowledge and passion for the literary world of America.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, children, and stepchildren.


  • kaylarusso

    Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.



Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.

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