Cover image for The haunted mind : the supernatural in Victorian literature
The haunted mind : the supernatural in Victorian literature
Smith, Elton Edward, 1915-2008.
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 139 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Introduction: Victorian literature and the shifting use of the supernatural / Elton E. Smith and Robert Haas -- Winged ghosts: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the return to the mystical / Elton E. Smith -- A Christmas Carol: Giving nursery tales a higher form / Harry Stone -- The specter of the self in Franksenstein and Great Expectations / Kath Filmer -- Danger and compulsion in The Wind and the Willows, or Toad and Hyde together at last / Roger C. Scholbin -- Masquerade: liberties and female power in Le Fanu's Carmilla / Tammis Elise Thomas -- Dr. Jekyll's closet / Elaine Showalter --Kipling's key to the haunted chamber / E. M. G. Smith -- Caliban in a glass: autoscopic vision in The Picture of Dorian Gray / Nancy Jane Tyson -- Pedophiles amidst looming portentousness: Henry James's The Turn of the Screw / Elton E. Smith.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR468.S86 H38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Haunted Mind, a collection of original essays by prominent scholars from diverse disciplines, is the first comprehensive, critical treatment of the influence of the supernatural on the literature of the Victorian period. Addressing standard classics of the canon as well as lesser known works and "penny dreadfuls," the essayists respond to the Victorian supernatural legacy from Marxist, poststructuralist, feminist, and cultural studies perspectives. The Haunted Mind contemplates the shifting use of the supernatural from an exterior force, acting upon characters, during the first half of the nineteenth century to an interior force, expressed through characters, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Contributors also treat a range of topics at issue in cultural studies: the performance of gender; the inscribed body; the heritage of fairy tales; the translation of oral culture into text; the changing representation of gender, race, and class; the engendered images of science, nature, technology, family, and business. Essayists include Elaine Showalter, Katti Filmer-Davies, Harry Stone, Nancy Tyson, Roger Schlobin, Robert Haas, Tammis Thomas, and Esther and Elton Smith. The compilation of voices in The Haunted Mind creates a persuasive cultural critique of the fantastic in Victorian ideology in one volume of scholarship.

Author Notes

Elton Smith is Distinguished Professor of British Literature and Bible at the University of South Florida. Robert Haas is Instructor of English at the University of South Florida.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The introduction to this volume calls it "the first collection of critical essays on the supernatural in Victorian literature"--even though one of the essays is reprinted from a volume called The Victorian Fantasists, ed. by Kath Filmer-Davies (CH, Dec'91), which certainly overlaps with the supernatural. The introduction also claims the collection is "comprehensive," though one finds no mention of William Harrison Ainsworth, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, G.W.M. Reynolds, Amelia B. Edwards, and others. Finally, one of the essays treats Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows (1908), hardly a Victorian work, despite a two-paragraph comparison of Mr. Toad to Robert Louis Stevenson's Hyde. What the volume actually offers is postmodern readings of some of Tennyson's poems, Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol, his Great Expectations (compared to Shelley's Frankenstein), J.S. Le Fanu's "Carmilla," Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (in the second reprinted essay, Elaine Showalter's excellent homosexual reading), poems and stories by Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, and Henry James's Turn of the Screw. In general, the essays are readable; a few have theoretic introductions that have little to do with the discussion; at least four will be useful to students of the Victorian period. Recommended for large Victorian collections serving upper-division undergraduates and graduate students and informed general readers. J. R. Christopher; Tarleton State University