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

$103.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521191883

$ 103.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This is an original 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 Smajić 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.

    • Sophisticated account of the important Victorian genres of detective fiction and ghost stories
    • Treats a wide variety of writers and texts, from the scientists Brewster, Hibbet and Farrier to the authors Scott, Dickens and Le Fanu
    • Combines historical and theoretical analysis to make an original contribution to the field
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "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."

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521191883
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    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 flâneur
    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

  • Author

    Srdjan Smajić
    Srdjan Smajić is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Furman.

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