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Spectres of the Self: Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-Seeing in England, 1750-1920 Paperback – 22 Jul 2010


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Review

'New research is revealing the origins of England's reputation as a land of ghosts.' BBC History Magazine

'Ghosts have been seen, and in so many ways. They have been seen as evidence of an afterlife, of insanity, of telepathy. They have been seen as unusual and common illustrations of the unreliability of the normal mind, as the causes of belief and as the product of belief. And what this book shows is that they can be seen as a useful reminder of the need to address what is meant by real, before considering whether anything is real … as in all good cultural histories, Spectres of the Self draws a rich web of connections, provides subtle insights, and reveals the degree of complexity which lies behind the simple questions.' English Historical Review

'The historical research presented in the book details the works, debates, and criticisms of the SPR and will not only interest the informed readership, but also a more general one. [This book] presents enthralling and laborious scholarship. But more importantly, it will inspire future researchers to work on this previously unmapped terrain of the supernatural.' Irmak Ertuna-Howison, Canadian Journal of History

'McCorristine deftly contextualises the specifics of the SPR's methods and internal disagreements with the broader cultural history of Victorian death rituals and perceptions of the afterlife, thus demonstrating a breadth of analytical scope that offers insightful information for both the general and the scholarly reader. Spectres of the Self is a valuable addition to the growing canon on the cultural history of ghost-seeing and is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history, literature, and cultural mindset of Europe in the 1750s to 1920s.' Kirsten Møllegaard, Folklore

'Spectres of the Self offers a fresh perspective on how we should read the relationship between ghost stories and modern subjectivities. McCorristine's book will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable resource for scholars and students with an interest in supernatural beliefs and more broadly in the sociocultural and intellectual history of contemporary Europe.' Sasha Handley, Journal of British Studies

'The book is a welcome and necessary contribution to the field - necessary because, while it covers some trodden ground, it does so with a thoroughness lacking in much other scholarship … McCorristine's book, for its wealth of information and strength of research, should be required reading in any course on the Victorian supernatural, especially if the course has anything to do with ghosts.' Srdjan Smajic, Victorian Studies

Book Description

By examining a vast range of sources, this book considers the sheer variety of ideas of ghost-seeing in England from the Reformation to the twentieth century and argues that the ghost ultimately represented a spectre of the self, a symbol of the psychological hauntedness of modern experience.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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