The Occult in Victorian Britain (HIC2316)

15 credits

Why were the Victorians so fascinated by the occult and what we now call the ‘paranormal’?  This module examines the origins, development and cultural meanings of this fascination, with special reference to animal magnetism/Mesmerism, apparitions, Modern Spiritualism, psychical research, ritual magic.  We situate these preoccupations in the wider context of heated debates over religious and scientific authority, industrialization, urbanization and secularization.  The module also reflects on the continuation of occult beliefs, practices and debates to the present day.


The module assumes no prior knowledge of the Victorian period and its interdisciplinary approach will appeal to Single and Combined Honours students.