Nineteenth-century spiritualism is routinely described as a phenomenon that originated in the United States and spread first across the Atlantic and then world-wide. The phenomenal growth of nineteenth-century spiritualism was made possible by the emergence of new, modern modes of transportation, book and periodical publishing and communications. Paul Gilroy has argued that the trope of the ship is especially important to the theorisation of the Black Atlantic. In her seminal work on spiritualism There is no Death Florence Marryat describes an incognito visit she paid to a New York seance in 1884 that left her a firm believer in spiritualism. Spiritualism was often characterised not just by social mobility but also by geographical mobility. Emma Hardinge Britten was a hugely celebrated British medium and historian of spiritualism who spent many years of her life in the United States and married the spiritualist William Britten.
This book addresses the special relationship from the perspective of post-Second World War British governments. It argues that Britain's foreign policy challenges the dominant idea that its power has been waning and that it sees itself as the junior partner to the hegemonic US. The book also shows how at moments of international crisis successive British governments have attempted to re-play the same foreign policy role within the special relationship. It discusses the power of a profoundly antagonistic relationship between Mark Twain and Walter Scott. The book demonstrates Stowe's mis-reading and mis-representation of the Highland Clearances. It explains how Our Nig, the work of a Northern free black, also provides a working-class portrait of New England farm life, removed from the frontier that dominates accounts of American agrarian life. Telegraphy - which transformed transatlantic relations in the middle of the century- was used by spiritualists as a metaphor for the ways in which communications from the other world could be understood. The story of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship is discussed. Beside Sarah Orne Jewett's desk was a small copy of the well-known Raeburn portrait of Sir Walter Scott. Henry James and George Eliot shared a transatlantic literary network which embodied an easy flow of mutual interest and appreciation between their two milieux. In her autobiography, Gertrude Stein assigns to her lifelong companion the repeated comment that she has met three geniuses in her life: Stein, Picasso, and Alfred North Whitehead.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers a series of cultural and literary relationships that took place across the Atlantic. It reveals a set of borrowings, shared considerations and preoccupations, rivalries and friendships that took place between creative writers and cultural commentators on both sides of the Atlantic from the mid nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The book discusses Donald Macleod's 'furious riposte' to that which he read as a poorly informed American intervention in Scottish politics, all the more shocking coming from the world-famous author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It engages with manifestations of the Gothic imagination. The book considers the inventive use that Harriet Wilson makes of the slave narrative in Our Nig. The book argues that Alison Easton used Walter Scott in order to situate the American Revolution in the national imagination.