Ghostly authorities and the British popular press
in Gothic Renaissance
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Andrea Brady analyses the complex implications of the return of supernatural phenomena in mid-seventeenth century pamphlet accounts of ghostly hauntings (about ‘real sightings as well as rhetorical ghosts in political satire’) against a growing ‘widespread scepticism’. She traces this return not only to the persistence of folk tradition but also to a conscious attempt by the Cambridge Platonists Henry More and Joseph Glanville to restore a ‘consensus which was eroding – in divine retribution, in immortal soul, in providence of history, in vision as access to truth’. The defence of ghostly apparitions is identified by Brady as a ‘conservative’ project to ward off ‘the threat [they believed] scepticism posed to church and state’.

Gothic Renaissance

A reassessment

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