Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination

Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination

5.0 1
by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
     
 

ISBN-10: 0299199541

ISBN-13: 9780299199548

Pub. Date: 06/28/2004

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press

    From essays about the Salem witch trials to literary uses of ghosts by Twain, Wharton, and Bierce to the cinematic blockbuster The Sixth Sense, this book is the first to survey the importance of ghosts and hauntings in American culture across time. From the Puritans’ conviction that a thousand preternatural beings appear every day

Overview

    From essays about the Salem witch trials to literary uses of ghosts by Twain, Wharton, and Bierce to the cinematic blockbuster The Sixth Sense, this book is the first to survey the importance of ghosts and hauntings in American culture across time. From the Puritans’ conviction that a thousand preternatural beings appear every day before our eyes, to today’s resurgence of spirits in fiction and film, the culture of the United States has been obsessed with ghosts. In each generation, these phantoms in popular culture reflect human anxieties about religion, science, politics, and social issues.
    Spectral America asserts that ghosts, whether in oral tradition, literature, or such modern forms as cinema have always been constructions embedded in specific historical contexts and invoked for explicit purposes, often political in nature. The essays address the role of "spectral evidence" during the Salem witch trials, the Puritan belief in good spirits, the convergence of American Spiritualism and technological development in the nineteenth century, the use of the supernatural as a tool of political critique in twentieth-century magic realism, and the "ghosting" of persons living with AIDS. They also discuss ghostly themes in the work of Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton, Gloria Naylor, and Stephen King.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299199548
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
06/28/2004
Series:
Ray and Pat Browne Book Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
480,922
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Introduction: The Spectral Turn3
1.Uncanny Afflictions: Spectral Evidence and the Puritan Crisis of Subjectivity18
2.Friendly Ghosts: Celebrations of the Living Dead in Early New England40
3.Can Such Things Be? Ambrose Bierce, the "Dead Mother," and Other American Traumas57
4.Living for the Other World: Sarah Orne Jewett as a Religious Writer78
5.The Politics of Heaven: The Ghost Dance, The Gates Ajar, and Captain Stormfield101
6.Technologies of Vision: Spiritualism and Science in Nineteenth-Century America124
7.Flight from Haunting: Psychogenic Fugue and Nineteenth-Century American Imagination141
8.The Girl in the Library: Edith Wharton's "The Eyes" and American Gothic Traditions157
9."Commitment to Doubleness": U.S. Literary Magic Realism and the Postmodern169
10.Melodramatic Specters: Cinema and The Sixth Sense185
11.Stephen King's Vintage Ghost-Cars: A Modern-Day Haunting207
12.Ghosting HIV/AIDS: Haunting Words and Apparitional Bodies in Michelle Cliff's "Bodies of Water"221
13.Salem's Ghosts and the Cultural Capital of Witches244
Contributors265
Index269

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Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago