XWe have detected your location as outside the U.S/Canada, if you think this is wrong, you can choose your location.

Palgrave Macmillan


Shakespeare and the Occult, 1850-1950

ISBN 9781137282200
Publication Date February 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Shakespeare's ghost appeared again and again at séance tables in London, Paris, Melbourne, and Cape Town, as well as in smaller, rural settings. This study concerns itself with a now-forgotten religious group, Spiritualists, and how its ensuing discussions of Shakespeare's meaning, his writing practices, his possible collaborations, and the supposed purity and/or corruption of his texts anticipated, accompanied, or silhouetted similar debates in Shakespeare studies.

Jeffrey Kahan is a Professor in the department of English at the University of La Verne, USA. He is the author of Reforging Shakespeare, The Cult of Kean, Bettymania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture, and the co-author of Caped Crusaders 101. He has edited scholarly editions of Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, and Shakespeare Imitations, Parodies and Forgeries, 1710-1820, among others.

1. Shakespeare, Poet of the Impossible
2. Crypts and Crypto-Graphology
3. The Afterlives of the Authors
4. Furness and His Poetic 'Spirit'
5. Knight Visions
6. Beyond the Academic Fields We Know. . .
7. Appendix A: Glossary of Spiritualist Terms and Techniques
8. Appendix B: A Note on the Spelling of 'Spirit'


"Shakespiritualism introduces a fascinating collection of individuals who imagined they could make contact with the living spirit of Shakespeare. Kahan acknowledges how easy it would be to dismiss their endeavors as silly if not mad, but to do so, he argues, would constitute a missed critical opportunity. For one thing, the very strangeness of the phenomenon helps to define by contrast the interpretive practice with which professional Shakespeareans are familiar. Then too, it's not so strange after all. Kahan points to surprising continuities between Shakespiritualism and our own work, and his darker purpose in this learned and appealing book is to suggest that a critical engagement with Shakespiritualism, while it is bound to remain a queer-looking enterprise, might help to enlarge our own practice beyond the unproductively narrow space within which it is sometimes enclosed." - Edward Pechter, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Concordia University, Canada and author of Shakespeare Studies Today
"Often biographical, Kahan's history is always interesting and entertaining. Including extensive notes and blibliography, this is a resource for Shakespeareans and those interested in the place of the occult in literary history." - CHOICE
Add a review

Related titles