English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism., Feminism and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Women and spiritualism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Women and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Fantasy fiction, English -- History and criticism., Occultism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Occultism in literature., Feminist fiction, English -- History and criticism., Criticism, interpretation, etc., and History.
"During the Victorian period, women found themselves on trial as never before. As the women's rights movement gathered strength, the advent of a "new witchcraft" revived old notions and fears of female occult power, a belief rooted in the legendary guilt of the female sex. This intriguing volume examines the impact of this nineteenth-century occult revival on the Victorian women's movement, both in the lives of individual women and in the literature surrounding "the Woman Question."" "While drawing on a wide range of literary texts, by such writers as the Bronte sisters, William Wilkie Collins, Benjamin Disraeli, and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Trial of Woman also examines the lives and careers of a number of historically significant women, from Florence Nightingale and Lady Byron (whose relationship with her daughter, the mathematician, Ada Lovelace, is the subject of the first chapter) to Madame Blavatsky, as well as interesting but lesser-known figures such as Amelia B. Edwards and Joanna Southcott who was convinced she was the Woman of Revelations, one of the three most important women ever born." "As Victorian culture struggled for a sense of coherence, the Occult Woman was repeatedly presented as the figure that best embodied what was perceived as problematic or dysfunctional about Victorian life, while at the same time holding a possible key to harmony and integration. That key appears, for the Victorians, to have concerned the female menstrual cycle, itself the object of anxious discussion about the legendary, occult powers of women. Although menstruation--known alternatively as the "time of flowers" and the "curse of Eve"--was a taboo phenomenon seldom directly addressed, it was central because of all it implied concerning women's biological and psychic otherness."--BOOK JACKET.
Despite supernatural scepticism, stories about spirits were regularly printed and shared throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. This case-study in the transmission of a single story (of a young gunsmith near Bristol conjuring spirits, leading to his early death) reveals both how and why successive generations found meaning in such accounts.
Quacks and quackery--Great Britain--History--19th century, Spiritualism--Great Britain--History--19th century, and Magical thinking--Great Britain--History--19th century
The Victorians had a thirst for knowledge. This drove them to explore the unchartered corners of the world, plumb the unfathomable depths of science, discover evolution and create some of the engineering and architectural marvels of the world. Yet this open-mindedness also at times made them utterly gullible. Because of their closeness to disease and the ever-present threat of their own mortality, it was inevitable that they would be open to the claims of quacks who promised all kinds of panaceas, and to mediums who offered a means of communicating with the dead. So too did it make them eager for diversion and entertainment by the conjurers and illusionists of the great music halls. Strangely, it was through the magic-making skill of the conjurers that the activities of many of the tricksters and fraudulent mediums finally came to be exposed. Medical Meddlers, Mediums & Magicians is a box of delights for all students of Victoriana.
Spiritualism--United States--History--19th century, Spiritualists--New York (State)--New York--Biography, Sisters--New York (State)--New York--Biography, and Spiritualism--Great Britain--History--19th century
Kate, Leah and Margaret Fox were three young sisters living in upstate New York in the middle of the nineteenth century who discovered an apparent ability to communicate with spirits. When this became known, they quickly found themselves at the core of an emerging spiritualist movement, and their public seances in New York City were attended by many. the movement gained considerable popularity, although Margaret would later admit to producing rapping noises by cracking her toe joints and both she and Kate eventually died in poverty. Spiritualism nonetheless became something of a Victorian phenomenon, both in America and Britain, with figures such as James Fenimore Cooper and Arthur Conan Doyle amongst its adherents. Maurice Leonard's account of the lives of the Foxes is a fascinating and informative look at the birth and early days of spiritualism, a belief that remains popular to this day.