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Record Type: Review   ID: 1200

The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914

Oppenheim, Janet

 The author examines the widespread public interest in spiritualism in Victorian and Edwardian England. The book is primarily concerned with motivation—why spiritualism was seen as a surrogate for religion and psychical research as the science of the future. At base, the spiritualists and psychical researchers "addressed . . . the most critical issues of science, philosophy, and religion" (p. 397). Part I, "The Setting," has two chapters, the first on the mediums and the second on the personnel of spiritualism. Part II, "A Surrogate Faith," has a chapter on spiritualism and Christianity, one on theosophy and the occult, and one on psychical research and agnosticism, which deals with the work of the SPR. The third and final part is "A Pseudoscience " and has chapters on concepts of mind, in which psychology and psychical research and the work of Gurney and Myers are dealt with; a chapter on evolution, which deals with Romanes, Chambers, and Wallace; and a final chapter on physics and psychic phenomena, which has sections on Barrett, Crookes, and Lodge.
Publisher Information:New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 503p. Chapter notes; 26 illustrations; Index: 487-503
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