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Altered States
Sex, Nation, Drugs, and Self-Transformation in Victorian Spiritualism
Altered States
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Marlene Tromp - Author
SUNY series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Price: $65.00 
Hardcover - 260 pages
Release Date: July 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6739-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6739-8

Quantity:  
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 260 pages
Release Date: June 2007
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6740-4

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Considers the role of Spiritualism in Victorian culture.

Altered States examines the rise of Spiritualism—the religion of séances, mediums, and ghostly encounters—in the Victorian period and the role it played in undermining both traditional female roles and the rhetoric of imperialism. Focusing on a particular kind of séance event—the full-form materialization—and the bodies of the young, female mediums who performed it, Marlene Tromp argues that in the altered state of the séance new ways of understanding identity and relationships became possible. This not only demonstrably shaped the thinking of the Spiritualists, but also the popular consciousness of the period. In diaries, letters, newspaper accounts, scientific reports, and popular fiction, Tromp uncovers evidence that the radical views presented in the faith permeated and influenced mainstream Victorian thought.

“Tromp makes a good case for the wide-ranging import of Victorian Spiritualism; as she sees Spiritualism, it provides a fulcrum for fraught Victorian ideologies of sexuality, imperialism, intoxicants, and gender roles. Like our own ghosts, those of the Victorians nestle at the heart of their culture’s phobias and hopes, and Tromp’s enlightening study unveils their devious power.” — Nina Auerbach, author of Daphne du Maurier, Haunted Heiress

“Tromp asks why Spiritualism mattered and what effects it produced, and she answers these questions on the basis of primary research and careful attention to the Victorian cultural web. She showcases what in so many places are very exciting, very well articulated, and very new ideas with significant bearing on Victorian cultural studies as a whole.” — Martha Stoddard Holmes, author of Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture

“This is an excellent study that expands our understanding of the importance of Spiritualism in the Victorian period.” — Gail Turley Houston, author of From Dickens to Dracula: Gothic, Economics, and Victorian Fiction

Marlene Tromp is Associate Professor of English at Denison University. She is the coeditor (with Pamela K. Gilbert and Aeron Haynie) of Beyond Sensation: Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Context, also published by SUNY Press, and the author of The Private Rod: Marital Violence, Sensation, and the Law in Victorian Britain.


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Performing Readings

Part I: Spirit Made Flesh

1. Spirited Sexuality: Sex, Marriage, and Victorian Spiritualism

2. Wedding Stories/Ghost Stories

Part II: Ghosts of Home

3. Ghostly Erotics and Imperialism in the Victorian Drawing Room

4. Economics, Race, and the Specter of Class

5. Drunk with Power: Stories of Ghostly Others

Part II: Transforming the Self

6. Under the Influence: The Fox Sisters and Pernicious Spirits

7. Haunted by Doubts: Elizabeth d'Espérance, Social Justice, and the Reconfiguration of Mediumship

Notes
Bibliography
Index



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