"Dazed and Abused: Gender and Mesmerism in Wilkie Collins," in Victorian Literary Mesmerism. Brill-Rodopi, 2006.  

Type: 
Book Chapter
Author(s): 
Sharrona Pearl

Victorian Literary Mesmerism, edited by Martin Wills and Catherine Wynne, examines the engagement between literature and mesmerism in Victorian writing. Drawing on recent trends in interdisciplinary literary scholarship the essays collected here investigate the complex connections between scientific mesmerism, its manifestations in the Victorian social and cultural world, and the literary imagination. Here, for the first time, the varied themes and contexts shaped by mesmeric practices are brought together in one volume. Mesmerism’s influence on phrenology, medicine and mental health; its interaction with the occult and with communication technologies; the effects of mesmeric principles on gender and sexuality, as well as on criminal behaviour, are all set within the context of literary texts that interrogate and critique mesmerism’s influence on the Victorians. This volume will be of interest, therefore, to scholars of Victorian literature and the history of science, as well as to those interested in cultural history with a focus on gender, sexuality, and sciences of the mind.