The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England

Paperback | April 15, 2004

byAlex Owen

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A highly original study that examines the central role played by women as mediums, healers, and believers during the golden age of spiritualism in the late Victorian era, The Darkened Room is more than a meditation on women mediums—it's an exploration of the era's gender relations.

The hugely popular spiritualist movement, which maintained that women were uniquely qualified to commune with spirits of the dead, offered female mediums a new independence, authority, and potential to undermine conventional class and gender relations in the home and in society.

Using previously unexamined sources and an innovative approach, Alex Owen invokes the Victorian world of darkened séance rooms, theatrical apparitions, and moving episodes of happiness lost and regained. She charts the struggles between spiritualists and the medical and legal establishments over the issue of female mediumship, and provides new insights into the gendered dynamics of Victorian society.

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From the Publisher

A highly original study that examines the central role played by women as mediums, healers, and believers during the golden age of spiritualism in the late Victorian era, The Darkened Room is more than a meditation on women mediums—it's an exploration of the era's gender relations.The hugely popular spiritualist movement, which maintai...

From the Jacket

A highly original study that examines the central role played by women as mediums, healers, and believers during the golden age of spiritualism in the late Victorian era, The Darkened Room is more than a meditation on women mediums—it's an exploration of the era's gender relations.The hugely popular spiritualist movement, which maintai...

Alex Owen is a professor of history and gender studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Place of Enchantment, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:April 15, 2004Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226642054

ISBN - 13:9780226642055

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The book, the spirits, and the historians
1. Power and Gender: The Spiritalist Context
2. Victorian Spiritualism and the Spiritualist Woman
3. Star Mediumship: Light and Shadows
4. At Home with the Theobald Family
5. Women Healers in the Spiritualist World
6. Medicine, Mediumship and Mania
7. Louisa Lowe's Story
8. Spiritualism and the Subversion of Femininity
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index