Seerman: the rise of the psychic detective

Neil Cornwell

in Odoevsky's Four Pathways into Modern Fiction

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780719082092
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702062 | DOI:
Seerman: the rise of the psychic detective

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This chapter notes early detective fiction in works by Schiller, Hoffmann and Poe, prior to an examination of the figure of the uncle in Odoevsky's The Salamander—this personage here being proposed as a proto-‘psychic doctor’. The discussion considers examples of such a figure, in Anglo-Irish and English literature up to the Edwardian era. It assesses works by Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood and, again, Hodgson. Such a protagonist is then seen to recede, in the main into a more parodic treatment. A concluding section notes the reappearance at least of such motifs in recent ‘metaphysical detective’ fiction.

Keywords: detective fiction; The Salamander; psychic doctor; Sheridan Le Fanu; Bram Stoker; Algernon Blackwood; Odoevsky

Chapter.  12755 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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