Hanoverian Hauntings

B. W. Young

in The Victorian Eighteenth Century

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199256228
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191719660 | DOI:
 Hanoverian Hauntings

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This chapter strengthens the important claim made by the literary critic Terry Castle, who has argued for the need for modern scholars properly to appreciate a vitally important ‘spectral’ dimension in what she describes as Leslie Stephen's otherwise all too rational 18th century. Even though she respects the impetus behind W. E. H. Lecky's progressively rationalizing thesis in his History of the Rise and Progress of Rationalism in Europe (1865), she has offered her own richly suggestive series of discrete genealogies that account for the survival of the uncanny into the 19th century and rightly make much of its continuing power. This chapter, therefore, takes the form of an archaeology of the haunting sense of the 18th-century past in the 19th-century present. Haunting is both a reality and a metaphor in Vernon Lee, and the 18th century was an important factor in this experience of haunting, as it was also to prove to be for M. R. James.

Keywords: Vernon Lee; M. R. James; haunting; 18th century; Terry Castle

Chapter.  17893 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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