Ghosts: A Social History

By Davies, Owen (ed.)

From the publisher’s website: Despite the scientific and intellectual advances of the past five hundred years, populist belief in the supernatural, as evidenced by media investigations into the paranormal, continues to be culturally and socially relevant. Throughout history, ghost beliefs have been a source of literary inspiration and learned investigation. They prompted public panics and scandals, and have been manipulated for political and religious purposes. This five-volume reset edition draws together representative and defining printed sources to reveal changing perceptions of ghosts at different social levels from the Reformation through to the twentieth century in Britain and America.

In the face of growing scholarly interest in the history of ghosts, this groundbreaking edition is the first documentary survey of the field from the early modern era through to the industrial age. Sources have been chosen to present a clear chronological story of continuities and changes in the social and intellectual relevance of ghosts. They focus on the key published debates that emerged in each century, and illustrate the full range of literary formats that reported or discussed ghosts. American material is included in the final two volumes to reflect the US birth of nineteenth-century spiritualism.

The edition benefits from full scholarly apparatus, including a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes, endnotes and a consolidated index in the final volume. The set is broadly interdisciplinary and will appeal to those researching Social and Cultural History, History of Science, History of Religion, Literature and History of the Supernatural, as well as Early-Modern, Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century History.


Five volume set, approx. 2,000pp. Pickering and Chatto, February 2010. ISBN 978 1 85196 989 0

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