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Thurschwell examines the intersection of literary culture, the occult and new technology at the fin-de-sicle. She argues that as new technologies, such as the telegraph and the telephone, began suffusing the public imagination from the mid-nineteenth century on, they seemed to support the claims of spiritualist mediums. Making unexpected connections between, for instance, speaking on the telephone and speaking to the dead, she examines how psychical research is reflected in the work of Henry James, George DuMaurier and Oscar Wilde among others.
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