This research group took shape organically as a result of efforts by a number of researchers sited at the UAM since 1998. By 2006 it had grown into a loosely knit group of scholars and students over several institutions in Spain and abroad. In 2007 it was included in the UAM registry of research groups (code F-051). The study of liminality in all its textual forms remains its main goal. It seeks to examine the function of the threshold in and between texts, between literary genres, between cultural periods, between media, as well as between literature and folklore, anthropology, or the visual arts. Current areas of special interest are 18th-century culture and the Gothic genre. For details on the group see (LINK TO SECTION 2.2. THE TEAM). Here follows a selection of major projects and activities undertaken by The LIMEN Group to-date:


The Liminality Seminars
An informal forum for colleagues and students which ran from 1998 through 2006. Its usual shape offered a formal lecture, typically on a short text or else on one familiar to most participants, followed by a full hour’s discussion. It was greatly helpful in paving the way for subsequent projects. For a summary of our work, see ‘The Lure of the Limen’ (M.Aguirre), in The TRELLIS Papers Nº 1, 2006.


Threshold and Text:
Development of a Theory of Liminality Applicable to the Field of Literary Discourse
(BFF2000-0093) 2001-04
A 3-year project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education. In the transition from the dominance of Structuralism to that of what is currently known as Post-Structuralism, awareness has emerged that semiotic systems are never autonomous. This new perspective forces the scholar to examine contact zones, zones of friction, passage, transition and emulation between systems. In a spatial metaphor of the literary system, the chief site of scholarly enquiry is the threshold; the theoretical concept central to its study, that of liminality. This project sought on the one hand to explore and refine the notion of the threshold as a theoretical instrument and, on the other, to apply it in specific studies that would help articulate the theory.


The Northanger Library Project
(HUM2006-03404) 2006-09
Initiated in 2006, this is, in January 1012, an on-going project well beyond its official end-date. The goals of the NLP are threefold: to study the culture of the eighteenth century in the light of the concept of Liminality; to focus on Gothic literature as the core of the project; and, central to this core, to edit and study forgotten Gothic texts. For details see (LINK TO SECTION 5.2), and


The Madrid Gothic Seminar
This seminar was initiated in 2010 in response to needs arising from our work on the NLP. For the purposes of the MGS, Gothic is understood as a historical genre (consisting of novels, short prose fictions, poetry and drama) that emerged in the latter part of the eighteenth century and evolved into other genres (the historical novel, Victorian horror fiction, mystery, adventure and science-fiction among others) in the course of the 1820s and 30s.
The MGS welcomes students and scholars interested in Gothic literature, its history and its role in eighteenth-century culture. Its general purpose is to provide students and staff interested in the Gothic genre with an opportunity for research and debate. Its main goal is to build up a corpus of texts and analyses which will subsequently serve as a basis for further studies. From this corpus, general conclusions (regarding, e.g., motifs, narrative structures or the use of formulaic language) can be distilled until a theoretical framework of a strictly empirical nature—a veritable ‘grammar’ of Gothic—can be obtained. See


The Gateway Press
Though a small outfit, The Gateway Press (Madrid) is proud to be the first and so far the only independent academic publisher in English in Spain. It edits three different series:

  • Studies in Liminality and Literature (since 1999)
  • The TRELLIS Papers (since 2006)
  • The Northanger Library (since 2008)


The International Seminar on Liminality and Text
A series of conferences, mostly on a biennial basis. The following have been held to-date:

  • A Place That Is Not A Place

UAM, 17-19 March 1999
Team: Manuel Aguirre, Isabel Soto, Esteban Pujals

  • Betwixt-and-Between: Second International Seminar on Liminality and Text

UAM,  2-3 April 2001
Team:  Manuel Aguirre, Esteban Pujals, Philip Sutton

  • Mapping the Threshold: Third International Seminar on Liminality and Text

UAM, 24-25 March 2003
Team: Manuel Aguirre, Esteban Pujals, Nancy Bredendick, Isabel Soto

  • The Dynamics of the Threshold:  Fourth International Seminar on Liminality and Text

UAM, 14-15 March 2005
HUM2005-23859-E / FILO
Team: Manuel Aguirre, Nancy Bredendick, Belén Piqueras, Isabel Soto, Philip Sutton

  • Liminal Poetics: Fifth International Seminar on Liminality and Text

UAM, 26-27 March 2007
Team: Manuel Aguirre, Nancy Bredendick, Esteban Pujals, Belén Piqueras, Philip Sutton

6.   The Subject on the Threshold: Sixth International Seminar on Liminality and Text
UAM, 16-18 April 2012. For details see (SECTION 4. THE SEMINAR)
Team: Belén Piqueras, Esteban Pujals, Luisa Antón-Pacheco, Manuel Aguirre