Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind

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9780099478867: Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind

Born of the so-called Victorian "pseudo science" of mesmerism, the séance enjoyed a late 19th-century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics, and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirized hilariously in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the séance endured—and does so to this day. A revelatory exploration of the darker side of Victorian science, this narrative-driven history is full of literary and scientific anecdote and evocative depiction of 19th-century England.

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From the Inside Flap:

Born of the so-called Victorian ‘pseudo science’ of mesmerism (aptly described by Ambrose Bierce as 'Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage, and asked incredulity to Dinner'), the séance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment.

It assumed myriad forms - from entranced maids lecturing on theology to clairvoyants giving notice of stolen property, rapped out messages from the spirit world and ghostly shapes appearing from dark cabinets. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of the séance endured – and does so to this day.

Among the broad gallery of Victorians who found spiritual succour in the mysteries and wonders of the séance are the quacks, bluffers and rogues, but also respected physicians like Dr. John Elliotson, an early champion of mesmerism, aristocrats and writers as real and rational as Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. Servants of the Supernatural tells their fascinating story.

From the Back Cover:

PRAISE FOR FUGITIVE MINDS:

'Gives a wonderful sense of the richness and strangeness of our mental lives.' Guardian

'Melechi admirably avoids closing down his subjects with explanations, and he never loses sight of questions about creativity and cultural value as well as pathology.' TLS

'Refreshingly undogmatic... Very well written and filled with literary and historical references... Even the most rigid biological determinist would surely be able to read these for profit and entertainment.' Fortean Times

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Antonio Melechi
Editore: Random House UK (2009)
ISBN 10: 0099478862 ISBN 13: 9780099478867
Nuovi Paperback Quantità: 1
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Irish Booksellers
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Descrizione libro Random House UK, 2009. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0099478862

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2.

Melechi, Antonio
Editore: Random House UK (2009)
ISBN 10: 0099478862 ISBN 13: 9780099478867
Nuovi Paperback Quantità: 2
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Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
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Descrizione libro Random House UK, 2009. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110099478862

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