The rise of the psychic detective
in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
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This chapter notes early detective fiction in works by Schiller, Hoffmann and Poe, prior to an examination of the figure of the uncle in Odoevsky's The Salamander—this personage here being proposed as a proto-‘psychic doctor’. The discussion considers examples of such a figure, in Anglo-Irish and English literature up to the Edwardian era. It assesses works by Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood and, again, Hodgson. Such a protagonist is then seen to recede, in the main into a more parodic treatment. A concluding section notes the reappearance at least of such motifs in recent ‘metaphysical detective’ fiction.


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