The ghost story 1840-1920

A cultural history

By Andrew Smith

The ghost story 1840-1920


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8786-8
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: March 2012
  • BIC Category: Literature, Romanticism, Literature: history & criticism, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Gothic, LITERARY CRITICISM / Horror & Supernatural, LITERARY CRITICISM / Gothic & Romance, Humanities / Witchcraft, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism


The ghost story 1840-1920: A cultural history examines the British ghost story within the political contexts of the long nineteenth century. By relating the ghost story to economic, national, colonial and gendered contexts, it provides a critical re-evaluation of the period.

The conjuring of a political discourse of spectrality during the nineteenth century enables a culturally sensitive reconsideration of the work of writers including Dickens, Collins, Charlotte Riddell, Vernon Lee, May Sinclair, Kipling, Le Fanu, Henry James and M.R. James. Additionally, a chapter on the interpretation of spirit messages reveals how issues relating to textual analysis were implicated within a language of the spectral.

This book is the first full-length study of the British ghost story in over 30 years and it will be of interest to academics, graduate students and advanced undergraduates working on the Gothic, literary studies, historical studies, critical theory and cultural studies.


'Makes an important contribution to the field of Victorian cultural studies'
Simon Hay, Connecticut College, Victorian Studies, Summer 2012


1. Seeing the Spectre: an economic theory of the Ghost Story
2. Dickens's Spectres: sight, money and reading the ghost story
3. Money and Machines: Wilkie Collins's ghosts
4. Love, Money, and History: The Female Ghost Story
5. Reading ghosts and reading texts: spiritualism
6. Haunted Houses and History: Henry James's Anglo-American Ghosts
7. Colonial ghosts: mimicry, history, and laughter
8. M.R. James's Gothic Revival

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