The Invention of Telepathy

The Invention of Telepathy

Hardback

By (author) Roger Luckhurst

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 231mm x 25mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 22 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199249628
  • ISBN 13: 9780199249626
  • Illustrations note: 8 line drawings
  • Sales rank: 1,266,447

Product description

The Invention of Telepathy explores one of the enduring concepts to emerge from the late nineteenth century. Telepathy was coined by Frederic Myers in 1882. He defined it as 'the communication of any kind from one mind to another, independently of the recognised channels of sense'. By 1901 it had become a disputed phenomenon amongst physical scientists yet was the 'royal road' to the unconscious mind. Telepathy was discussed by eminent men and women of the day, including Sigmund Freud, Thomas Huxley, Henry and William James, Mary Kingsley, Andrew Lang, Vernon Lee, W. T. Stead, and Oscar Wilde. Did telepathy signal evolutionary advance or possible decline? Could it be a means of binding the Empire closer together, or was it used by natives to subvert imperial communications? Were women more sensitive than men, and if so why? Roger Luckhurst investigates these questions in an exciting and accessible study that mixes history of science with cultural history and literary analysis.

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Author information

Roger Luckhurst is Lecturer in English, Birkbeck College, University of London, and co-editor of Roger of The Fin-de-Siecle (OUP, 2000).

Review quote

... crammed with interesting facts ... its interdisciplinarity renders The Invention of Telepathy such an impressive and valuable book ... [Luckhurst's] elegant readings of a number of literary texts - most notably his splendid explication of Bram Stoker's Dracula - prove him an adept literary critic as well as an astute cultural historian. MODERNISM/modernity What makes The Invention of Telepathy such a vital resource is its own ambitious border-work at the thresholds of cultural history, literary studies, philosophical enquiry, feminist investigation, and post-colonial interrogation. Luckhurst not only illuminates the aggregated knowledges of late Victorian and early modernist society, but also resonantly redraws our sense of the technologies and imperatives of contemporary culture. Consciousness, Literature and the Arts Luckhurst's book asks exactly the kinds of question that will generate exciting new debates and researches on 'marginal' sciences ... an important addition to a growing number of studies. British Journal for the History of Science ... a refreshing approach to the well-trodden history of early psychical research. British Journal for the History of Science ... a treasure trove of diverse material, presented with interdisciplinary ease. Times Higher Education Supplement Fine cultural history. David McAllister, Times Literary Supplement Roger Luckhurst's The Invention of Telepathy comes at the disturbing story of modern psychic experiments through rich, overlapping layers of social and intellectual history and makes comprehensible what otherwise seem eccentricities and even folly on the part of scientists and thinkers. Marina Warner, "Books of the Year", Times Literary Supplement Luckhurst's densely worked argument picks up and knots the trailing threads in a carpet where figures of imperialist fantasy, technological terror and scientific speculation can be glimpsed side by side ... lucid and richly layered study. Marina Warner, London Review of Books

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Terrains of Emergence, 1870-1882 ; 2. Coining Telepathy: Concept and Elaboration, 1882-1901 ; 3. Making Connections: W. T. Stead's Occult Economies ; 4. Telepathic Doxai: Knowledge and Belief at the Imperial Margin ; 5. Psychical Research and the Late-Victorian Gothic ; 6. The Woman-Sensitive: Nerves, New Women and Henry James ; 7. Afterlives, 1901-34 ; INDEX