Book ID: CBB186449913

The New Prometheans: Faith, Science, and the Supernatural Mind in the Victorian Fin de Siècle (2019)


Raia, Courtenay Grean (Author)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 440
Language: English

The Society for Psychical Research was established in 1882 to further the scientific study of consciousness, but it arose in the surf of a larger cultural need. Victorians were on the hunt for self-understanding. Mesmerists, spiritualists, and other romantic seekers roamed sunken landscapes of entrancement, and when psychology was finally ready to confront these altered states, psychical research was adopted as an experimental vanguard. Far from a rejected science, it was a necessary heterodoxy, probing mysteries as diverse as telepathy, hypnosis, and even séance phenomena. Its investigators sought facts far afield of physical laws: evidence of a transcendent, irreducible mind.  The New Prometheans traces the evolution of psychical research through the intertwining biographies of four men: chemist Sir William Crookes, depth psychologist Frederic Myers, ether physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, and anthropologist Andrew Lang. All past presidents of the society, these men brought psychical research beyond academic circles and into the public square, making it part of a shared, far-reaching examination of science and society. By layering their papers, textbooks, and lectures with more intimate texts like diaries, letters, and literary compositions, Courtenay Raia returns us to a critical juncture in the history of secularization, the last great gesture of reconciliation between science and sacred truths.

Reviewed By

Review Julie Chajes (2022) Review of "The New Prometheans: Faith, Science, and the Supernatural Mind in the Victorian Fin de Siècle". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 669-670). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Alvarado, Carlos S.
Costa de Resende, Pedro Henrique
Leporiere, Lorenzo
Christopher Partridge
Humberto Schubert Coelho
Kyle Falcon
History of Psychiatry
Victorian Studies
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Science in Context
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Cornell University Press
Boston College
University of California, Los Angeles
Manchester University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Occult sciences
Parapsychology; psychic phenomena
Science and religion
Myers, Frederic William Henry
Crookes, William
Swedenborg, Emanuel
Mathers, Samuel Liddell MacGregor (1854-1918)
Randolph, Paschal Beverly (1825-1874)
Whiting, Phineas Westcott
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
Early modern
Great Britain
United States
London (England)
Society for Psychical Research

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