This essay addresses the socio-cultural potential of phreno-mesmerism in the mid-nineteenth century and how its good intentions were frustrated by its uncanny discourse. Supporters of phreno-mesmerisms social agency dreamed that the physiological make-up of future generations could be determined by engineering sexual partnerships. But the more earnestly the new hybrid science was advanced as a tool of social change, the more the discourse of phreno-magnetism proved unwieldy. In effect, the discourse represents a double-bind, intertwining sex and gender, essentialism and constructionism, science and the occult, materialism and Gothic. The article focuses of Elliotson‘s enthusiasm for uniting phrenology and mesmerism in his notorious Letter On Mesmeric Phrenology and Materialism (1843).
This study portrays Elizabeth Gaskell as an important social analyst who deliberately challenged the Victorian disjunction between public and private ethical values, maintaining a steady resistance to aggressive authority and advocating female friendship, rational motherhood and the power of speech as forces for social change. Since 1987, Gaskell's work has risen from minor to major status. Despite a wealth of subsequent gender-oriented criticism, however, this book's combination of psychoanalytic and political analysis is challenging in its use of modern motherhood theories. It presents the original text unchanged (except for bibliographical updating), together with a new critical Afterword. The Afterword offers detailed evaluation of all the Gaskell criticism published between 1985 and 2004 that has a bearing on the book's subject, and thus provides both a wide-ranging debate on the social implications of motherhood and a survey of Gaskell criticism over the last twenty years. This edition, with an updated bibliography and index, will bring the book to a new audience, while also offering a comprehensive overview of current Gaskell studies.
Sexuality, trauma and history in Edna O’Brien and John McGahern
Michael G. Cronin
these issues in new ways. Arguably, the novels contributed to the
broader cultural reconfiguration of sexuality and socialchange that was
under way in Ireland. Even if Irish sexual values and behaviour did not
undergo the kind of transformation that became known as the ‘sexual
revolution’ elsewhere in the West, sexuality was nevertheless foregrounded in public discourse in that decade. The Vatican Council
(1962–65) initiated significant changes in Irish Catholicism and created
an expectation that the Church’s position on the use of artificial birth
the government payroll, and with
increased self-employment and small enterprises.
The Revolution’s social trajectory
This long process of political change since 1959 also saw a parallel
process of socialchange. The most immediate change was to the class
structure, produced by the exodus of the old elite and middle class from
1960; by the early 1970s, almost a million had left, mostly for the United
States. While the political effects were mixed (creating an electorally
powerful and solid support for the embargo, but removing a potentially
damaging opposition and
Ireland is invariably
explained as the result of inertia induced by lazy, sectarian national
chauvinism and mindless Catholic piety. But if McCourt’s memoir has
done much to determine and reinforce certain conceptions of postindependence Irish history, O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody? is indispensible for thinking about socialchange in Ireland during the latter half of
As O’Faolain outlines in her introduction, this autobiographical essay
was initially intended to merely introduce a collection of her Irish Times
columns but it expanded in length and the
political and socialchanges in the last generations of Irish autonomy. It analyzes architectural types and techniques associated with the late Elizabethan colonization of Munster, which may be applicable to early modern Ireland in general. The chapter concludes with a study of the tower-house, which was used widely by both Irish aristocracy and English colonial landowners. A key period in Irish history, the reign of Elizabeth began with a medieval, semi-feudal society and ended with a central state authority and displaced populations.
literary realism can be simultaneously stable (an accessible, truthful representation of social conditions
at a particular historical moment) yet sufficiently unstable to suggest
an evolving discourse (a vision of future possibilities both linguistic and
political). This difficulty was certainly not unique to Harkness, but in a
period of significant socialchange it went to the very heart of her task.
Social semantics, that is, a common discourse carrying cultural meaning
in the process of refinement by dynamic contemporary usage, is the raw
material that a novelist
autobiographies and do not have a known or accessible archive
of papers –including Decima Moore, Gertrude Elliott, Inez Bensusan,
Adeline Bourne, Winifred Mayo, Edyth Olive, Nina Boucicault and many
others who might have written passionately and eloquently about the continuing political and social engagement of the AFL. The diversification
of the League’s portfolio after 1914 places its work alongside those running campaigns for political and socialchange, extending its professional
and historical legacy far beyond the Edwardian period. The research that
underpins this book
The Open Graves, Open Minds project discussed in this book relates the undead in literature, art and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption and social change. The story of vampires, since their discovery in eighteenth-century Europe, is one of transformations and interbreedings of genre, which mediate shifts in ways of knowing and doubting. It is marked by metamorphoses of the vampire itself, from monstrous to sympathetic, but always fascinatingly Other. Certain tropes, such as optical figures, and particularly that of reflection, recur throughout, calling attention to the preoccupation with epistemology in vampire narratives. The book focuses on various aspects of these themes as the story unfolds to the present day. It shows how the persona of Lord Byron became an effective vehicle for the vampire of fiction as a transformed Gothic mode, and grapples with the figure of the non-reflecting vampire who casts no shadow, moving deftly between Dracula and Wilde's Dorian Gray and the 'vampire painting' and installations of the contemporary artist David Reed. The book gives a luminous account of early vampire cinema as a 'Kingdom of shadows', and explores the undead at the interface, where knowing becomes problematic: 'unsettlement'. The book also unearths the folklore roots of vampire fiction and offers a glimpse of how contemporary writers adapt the perennial figure.