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Spectres of the Self
Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-Seeing in England, 1750–1920

$40.99 (P)

  • Author: Shane McCorristine, National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge
  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521747967

$ 40.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Spectres of the Self is a fascinating study of the rich cultures surrounding the experience of seeing ghosts in England from the Reformation to the twentieth century. Shane McCorristine examines a vast range of primary and secondary sources, showing how ghosts, apparitions, and hallucinations were imagined, experienced, and debated from the pages of fiction to the case reports of the Society for Psychical Research. By analysing a broad range of themes from telepathy and ghost-hunting to the notion of dreaming while awake and the question of why ghosts wore clothes, Dr McCorristine reveals the sheer variety of ideas of ghost seeing in English society and culture. He shows how the issue of ghosts remained dynamic despite the advance of science and secularism and argues that the ghost ultimately represented a spectre of the self, a symbol of the psychological hauntedness of modern experience.

    • Incorporates literature, psychiatry and popular belief, presenting a variety of ideas about ghost-seeing
    • Compares contexts from Germany, France and America, providing an international understanding of the topic
    • Examines the culture of ghost-seeing rather than the validity of ghost-belief
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Spectres of the Self 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

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521747967
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Dreams of the Ghost-Seers:
    1. The haunted mind, 1750–1850
    2. Seeing is believing?: Ghost-seeing and hallucinatory experience
    Part II. A Science of the Soul:
    3. Ghost-hunting in the Society for Psychical Research
    4. Phantasms of the living and the dead
    5. The concept of hallucination in late-Victorian psychology
    Epilogue: towards 1920

  • Author

    Shane McCorristine, National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge
    Shane McCorristine is a post-doctoral researcher in the Humanities Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin. He has previously published articles on surrealism, children's literature and supernatural fiction.

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