The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult

By Tatiana Kontou and Sarah Willburn (eds.)

From the publisher’s website: Critical attention to the Victorian supernatural has flourished over the last twenty-five years. Whether it is spiritualism or Theosophy, mesmerism or the occult, the dozens of book-length studies and hundreds of articles that have appeared recently reflect the avid scholarly discussion of Victorian mystical practices. Designed both for those new to the field and for experts, this volume is organized into sections covering the relationship between Victorian spiritualism and science, the occult and politics, and the culture of mystical practices. The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult brings together some of the most prominent scholars working in the field to introduce current approaches to the study of nineteenth-century mysticism and to define new areas for research.

Contents: Foreword; Introduction, Tatiana Kontou and Sarah Willburn; Part 1 Haunted Laboratories and Ghosts in the Machine: Spiritualism, Science and Technology: Recent scholarship on spiritualism and science, Christine Ferguson; The sciences of spiritualism in Victorian Britain: possibilities and problems, Richard Noakes; The undead author: spiritualism, technology and authorship, Anthony Enns; The Victorian post-human: transmission, information and the séance, Jill Galvan; The cross-correspondences, the nature of evidence and the matter of writing, Leigh Wilson. Part 2 Occulture: Sex, Politics, Philosophy and Poetics: The evolution of occult spirituality in Victorian England and the representative case of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, J. Jeffrey Franklin; 'Out of your clinging kisses…I create a new world': sexuality and, spirituality in the work of Edward Carpenter, Joy Dixon; Socialism and occultism at the fin de siècle: elective affinities, Matthew Beaumont; William James: belief in ghosts, Christoforos Diakoulakis; The turn of the gyres: alterity in The Gift of Haroun Al-Rashid and A Thousand and One Nights, Mazen Naous. Part 3 Staging the Victorian Afterlife: from Magic Shows to Dinner Parties: The case of Florence Marryat: custodian of the Spirit World/popular novelist, Tatiana Kontou; 'Gentleman mountebanks' and spiritualists: legal, stage and media contests between magicians and spirit mediums in the United States and England, Erika White Dyson; Mirth as medium: spectacles of laughter in the Victorian séance room, Mackenzie Bartlett; 'Eating, feeding, and flesh: food in Victorian Spiritualism, Marlene Tromp; ‘The dear old sacred terror’: spiritualism and the supernatural from The Bostonians to The Turn of the Screw, Bridget Bennett; ‘The sublimation of matter into spirit’: Anna Mary Howitt’s automatic drawings, Rachel Oberter; Viewing history and fantasy through Victorian spirit photography, Sarah Willburn; Bibliography; Index.


The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult. Ashgate, July 2012. ISBN: 978-0-7546-6912-8

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