Ghost-Seers, Detectives, and Spiritualists

Ghost-Seers, Detectives, and Spiritualists : Theories of Vision in Victorian Literature and Science

3.88 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book is a study of the narrative techniques that developed for two very popular forms of fiction in the nineteenth century - ghost stories and detective stories - and the surprising similarities between them in the context of contemporary theories of vision and sight. Srdjan Smajic argues that to understand how writers represented ghost-seers and detectives, the views of contemporary scientists, philosophers, and spiritualists with which these writers engage have to be taken into account: these views raise questions such as whether seeing really is believing, how much of what we 'see' is actually only inferred, and whether there may be other (intuitive or spiritual) ways of seeing that enable us to perceive objects and beings inaccessible to the bodily senses. This book will make a real contribution to the understanding of Victorian science in culture, and of the ways in which literature draws on all kinds of knowledge.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 158 x 235 x 17mm | 580g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521191882
  • 9780521191883

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Outer Vision, Inner Vision: Ghost-Seeing and Ghost Stories: 1. Contextualizing the ghost story; 2. The rise of optical apparitions; 3. Inner vision and spiritual optics; 4. 'Betwixt ancient faith and modern incredulity'; Part II. Seeing is Reading: Vision, Language, and Detective Fiction: 5. Visual learning: sight and Victorian epistemology; 6. Scopophilia and scopophobia: Poe's readerly flaneur; 7. Stains, smears, and visual language in The Moonstone; 8. Semiotics vs. encyclopedism: the case of Sherlock Holmes; Part III. Into the Invisible: Science, Spiritualism, and Occult Detection: 9. Detective fiction's uncanny; 10. Light, ether, and the invisible world; 11. Inner vision and occult detection: Le Fanu's Martin Hesselius; 12. Other dimensions, other worlds; 13. Psychic sleuths and soul doctors; Coda.
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Review quote

"Ghost-Seers, Detectives, an Spiritualists presents absorbing discussions of overlooked theories and diversifies our understanding of visual perception in the nineteenth century, especially as it applies to the popular literature of the period." --Journal
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About Srdjan Smajic

Srdjan Smajic is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Furman.
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 25% (2)
3 25% (2)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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