Publisher description for Literature, technology, and magical thinking, 1880-1920 / Pamela Thurschwell.


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Counter In this book Pamela Thurschwell examines the intersection of literary culture, the occult and new technology at the fin-de-siècle. Thurschwell argues that technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone annihilated distances that separated bodies and minds from each other. As these new technologies began suffusing the public imagination from the mid nineteenth century on, they seemed to support the claims of spiritualist mediums. Talking to the dead and talking on the phone both held out the promise of previously unimaginable contact between people: both seemed to involve 'magical thinking'. Thurschwell looks at the ways in which psychical research, the scientific study of the occult, is reflected in the writings of such authors as Henry James, George du Maurier and Oscar Wilde, and in the foundations of psychoanalysis. This study offers new and provocative interpretations of fin-de-siècle literary and scientific culture in relation to psychoanalysis, queer theory and cultural history.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: English literature 19th century History and criticism, Magic in literature, Literature and technology Great Britain History 19th century, Literature and technology Great Britain History 20th century, English literature 20th century History and criticism, Psychoanalysis and literature, Homosexuality and literature, Spiritualism in literature, Occultism in literature, Telepathy in literature