Article

Religion, Psychical Research, Spiritualism, and the Occult

Roger Luckhurst

in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199545445
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199545445.013.0025

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Religion, Psychical Research, Spiritualism, and the Occult

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This article examines the relation of modernism with religion, particularly spiritualism, psychical research, and the occult. It argues against the claim that one central way of defining modernity is to emphasize its rejection of religion. The article explains that modernity did not by any means put an end to the quest for spirit, but actively promoted new avenues of curiosity and research in which the spirit leaked back into the grid of secular knowledge. It contends that modernity only transferred the language and affect of the sacred displaced into other discourses and suggests that the cultural fascination with ghosts or with sublime experience performs the presence of the absence of God in modernity.

Keywords: modernism; religion; spiritualism; psychical research; occult; secular knowledge; ghosts; sublime experience; God

Article.  7572 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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