A genre of supernatural fiction was among the more improbable products of the Age of Enlightenment. This book charts the troubled entry of the supernatural into fiction, and questions the historical reasons for its growing popularity in the late eighteenth century. Beginning with the notorious case of the Cock Lane ghost, a performing poltergeist who became a major attraction in London in 1762, and with Garrick's spellbinding and paradigmatic performance as the ghost-seeing Hamlet, it moves on to look at the Gothic novels of Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, M. G. Lewis, and others, in unexpected new lights. The central thesis concerns the connection between fictions of the supernatural and the growth of consumerism: not only are ghost stories successful commodities in the rapidly commercialising book market, they are also considered here as reflections on the disruptive effects of this socio-economic transformation.
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(228mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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