Professors, Charlatans, and Spiritists: The Stage Hypnotist in Late Nineteenth-Century English Literature




Animal magnetism, Hypnosis, Mesmerism, Spiritism, Henry James, Hall Caine


In this paper I will explore the stereotype of the stage hypnotist in fiction literature through the analysis of the novellas Professor Fargo (1874) by Henry James (1843-1916) and Drink: A Love Story on a Great Question (1890) by Hall Caine (1853-1931). Both Professor Fargo and Drink form part of a literary subgenre referred to variously as “Hypnotic Fiction”, “Trance Gothic” or “mesmeric texts”. The objective of my research, which examines both the literary text itself and its historical and social context, is to offer new and interesting data that may contribute to the development of a poetics or theory of the literary subgenre of hypnotic fiction. In this sense, this article is an essential contribution to a broader analysis that I have been working on, focusing on highlighting the generic features of this type of literature by analysing the stereotypes of hypnotists in fiction.


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How to Cite

Bonet Safont, J. M. (2020). Professors, Charlatans, and Spiritists: The Stage Hypnotist in Late Nineteenth-Century English Literature. Culture &Amp; History Digital Journal, 9(1), e007.