In The Arcades Project, Benjamin explores the different aspects of nineteenth-century culture, in search of a historical reality to which people can awake in a revelatory act of political consciousness. However, the uncanny effects of his archival approach impinge on this revelatory and sublime process. Rather than revealing the political, economic, and technological latent content of the past, representations of the material object confront consciousness with the unfamiliar and abject forms of the repressed collective unconscious. The Gothic tropes of Benjamin‘s text are the traces of the melancholy haunting his concept of a demystifying revelation of historical and material truth.
William Burroughs’ texts provide us with one of the most self-conscious of guides through an addicted world which is violently dislocated from linear time, while at the same time undermining the reliability of such a guide. In this Gothicised world we cannot trust the account of the addict; but this also implies that we cannot trust ourselves in the moment of addiction to reading. While we are secretly communing with the texts, we are also liable to ‘forget’, or to ignore, the outer parameters which comprise the moral universe; we are freed but, paradoxically, we find difficulty in reporting the content of this freedom. Here we find an essential link, which can also be found across Gothic fiction, to the notion of ‘psychotic rapture’, and a dislocation between the force of the messages ‘broadcast’; to us from the outside and the alignment of these messages with the counterforce of the world of experience.
(1765–1815) and the naturalist Georges Cuvier (1769–1832).
Gordon is sarcastically blunt in his opinion that the two publications currently under review have signally failed to advance either the content or the credibility of Gall's initial theory:
Villers's letter to Cuvier had, we confess, left very little doubt in our minds as to the real merits and the real views of this formidable personage; and the present
, the Edinburgh correspondent also advances a description of an introductory lecture, presumably the first in a series funded by public subscription, delivered by Spurzheim at some point in 1816. This was, no doubt, broadly similar in content and tone to the gathering which Combe was to join having witnessed that first, much more intimate, dissection. The correspondent writes:
It is with much pleasure I inform you, that Dr Spurzheim, last night, delivered his introductory lecture to a very crowded
handwritten phrenological charts and printed posters advertising lectures in the English provinces.
One of the most substantial items in the collection, though, has no graphic content beyond its gilded lettering, and yet provides a mute testimony to the incredible persistence of phrenology in British culture. The object in question is a wooden signboard, fabricated very much in the style of those tablets which commemorate, in clubrooms and dining halls, the successive captains of sports clubs or the worshipful masters of
propositional content of the piece (what it claims to be about) and the formal mechanism of the piece (how it is brought into print, formally). Both form and content in this poem function in harmony; they bring about the collapse of the present temporal and spatial moment into the supernatural gift of a dream and a dream figure. That figure brings about change in the mind of the narrator. It is tempting to write ‘in the mind of the poet’, but because the poem is so self-conscious of its form and antecedents, to a level where we will see it footnoting its own heritage upon the
Mesmerism, celebrity practitioners and the schism of 1842–3
obscure as to whether the other contributors to The Phreno-Magnet were even aware of the inclusion of their writings in that periodical, though some were undoubtedly correspondents or associates of the editor. Among the original content are letters by James Braid (1795–1860), the surgeon and pioneer of analgesic hypnotism, and by Henry Atkinson, Elliotson's associate, as well as a succession of ‘Phreno-magnetic notes’ by the mesmeric apologist John Potchett (c. 1787–1862).
A portion of the publication, though, is
formal interrogation also has marked features of orality. An additive sentence structure is clear, an attempt is made to draw a timeline, which has importance for the main argument about drinking ale, and direct discourse in the present tense is inserted into the narrative.
In point eight in the formal interrogation, it emerges that oral narratives with demonological content had been told by peasants in the area for many years. It is said that the story about a witches’ gathering, the Dancers of Moaness, had started to be told in the area eleven years ago. Looking at
Sermons and the supernatural in post-Reformation Scotland
Michelle D. Brock
’. 10 In another sermon he wrote that
as for the subject of this wisdom, thy naturall eye never saw it, thy naturall care never heard it, and it never entered into thy naturall heart: and therfore whosoever wil see these things, he must seek an eye that is more than natural, that is supernaturall, that is spirituall: seeke an eare that is supernaturall and spirituall. Goe to the heart, content not thy selfe with a naturall heart: seeke an heart that is spirituall and supernaturall. 11
For Rollock and his fellow Reformed ministers who fundamentally
Phrenology in Britain during the first decade of the nineteenth century
the British general public were able to encounter this English translation of Blöde's work directly, because of the peculiar nature of its publication and distribution, considerably more were informed of its content and implications by way of a summary published in the Critical Review in the same month that the volume was advertised in the Morning Chronicle . Ponderously prefaced with the full title of the translation – Dr J. F. Gall's Systems of the Function of the Brain Extracted from Charles Augustus Blode's Account of Dr Gall's Lectures Held on the Above