Ghosts: Traditional British Values

In the long term of the rule of Queen Victoria, the British, wanting to reconcile scientific and technical progress with the fact that they were read by the Staroangalian way, invented a lot of new. In accordance with the island Common Law, the British were looking for and found historical precedents to justify everything that only it seemed to be a decent rationale, whether it was a cult of family hearth, sexual discipline or neo-neutic architecture. In a strange way, in the same row of the English traditional values ​​of two-day presses and ghosts are also provided, or rather – stories about them.

Christmas stories

Hero Charles Dickens Mr. Pickwick and his noble satellites during his famous travel in England had to somehow meet Christmas visiting Mr. Wordla, a friend of Mr. Pickwick and the owner of the farm in Dingli delle. Taking guests, the owner abdicted by the traditions reigned in those places since his youth – in particular, Wordl told the travelers about the story of the griller grave Gabriele Grabbe. This graveman, according to legend, was abducted by underground spirits, all night tolerated their ridicule, and the next morning he woke up with a different man, went into the edges of the edges to pour sins and returned only in ten years – torn, patient and enlightened. This story, according to a storytellor, was transmitted from mouth to many generations. Unlike Wordla, who belonged to the story with skepticism, most of the local was confident that everything was described with an unfortunate burial staff as described in legend. As in fact, there were cases in Dingli-Delle – it is unclear, but it is known that six years after the publication of the Pickwick Club, Dickens himself will force the British to read stories about ghosts on Christmas Eve. In December 1843, the "Christmas Song in Prose" was published – the story of Mr. Ebinosizer Scrudze (very similar in character at the already mentioned Gabriel Grab) and who were the perfumes of real and future shields. The story had a huge success among the reading public, and for many decades every year, the British have met for the reading of terrible (and not very) narratives about the phenomenon of supernatural forces into the world of people.

Evolution of ghosts and genres

Following Mr. Wordle, the authors of these stories, including Dickens himself, insisted: the stories about ghosts are an integral part of the old England. A new genre that grew up from Gothic Novels and opposing himself to her, positioned himself as a genre old – they say, terrible stories went in English families from the century to the century. To change the Gothic ghosts (they inhabited castles, prophesied and advocated justice) came home ghosts, only occasionally invaded in everyday life families. Now the spirits of the deceased relatives were only frightened by guests of hotels and Novoselov, and then, as a rule, not to death. Often, as in the case of a "Christmas song", they did it only in order to remind the victim about the values ​​of Christian life.

Ghosts were called upon to protect the sphere of family, private life from the invasion of the large, public world of science and technology

In the midst of those who were then in the novelty of factories and steam vehicles of the dead, invading the size of the Victorian families, reminded of the past, never existed and at the same time served as a landmark for contemporaries. It is characteristic that this "traditional" genre was one of the first mass literature samples. Stories about ghosts were printed in cheaply by unattainable editions of periodicals "for family reading".

Science legalizes ghosts

Being a family hearth from attempted from growing capitalism with its factories, proletarians and could, ghosts challenged and godless science, who took the time to explain all the phenomena of living and inanimate nature. As prescribed ghosts, the ghosts were on the border of fiction and reality and they could be believable or not to believe. And believers, and unbelievers demanded from scientists evidence of their rightness, and the last willingly accepted this challenge. Literary critic Srjan Smarthal binds Victorian concern to aggregate development of science on vision and optics. The human eye from now he was not considered to be accurate enough to trust him: see something and believe something – now different things. The criterion of the existence of "something" is declared not human perception, but the opinion of science. So, the phenomenon of ghosts was due to the pinching of the eye nerve, the defect of the retina or simply optical deception.

Ghost on that was ghost – it was impossible to not catch or explain

Ghosts Traditional British Values

English doctor John Ferrior believed that ghosts should be considered no more than the memories, bright enough to cause eye irritation. The person of the Victorian era knew how easy it was to deceive the vision – a magical lantern, a photo, the movies consistently inspired him this thought.

Law of genre

The authors of the ghost stories were well acquainted with this circle of scientific and popular literature. Moreover, Walter Scott, the author of the classic novel "Room with tapestries", wrote the article at one time, where, referring to the achievements of modern physiology, exposed the existence of ghosts. The law of the genre, however, demanded that the reader remains in bewilderment – none of the scientific versions had to fully explain the phenomenon of the spirit alive. In the same "room", a confident tone, with whom the adequacy of the mysterious castle, told about visiting him by ghost, excluded the version of the "wild game of imagination or a deception of an optic nerve". In other cases, the spirits managed to describe the appearance or clothing of the deceased, who had never seen during his lifetime. Characteristic plot: After the phenomenon of the ghost, to whom he appeared, he learns him on one of the portraits in the family gallery of the castle. Later, as a rule, it turns out that the man in the portrait was a terrible sinner, for which his soul wanders. Ghost on that was ghost – it was impossible to not catch or explain.


No illusion, but the deception of sciences about the vision silent the Victorian life from the all-consuming rationalism of the era. Another answer to those who rejected the existence of ghosts with the "optical" positions, was developing at the time of the science of "spiritual vision". The adepts of the popular at that time did the exercise testified: the disbelief of a modern person in the possibility of communication with the ghosts of the dead is explained by his inattention to the spiritual component of being. According to this theory of human spirit, there is almost the same set of organs of the senses as the body, which means it is permissible to talk about the vision of the spirit. Esoterick Thomas Carlisle developed a whole discipline – spiritual optics, who studied the possibility of a person to see not only physical, but also "spiritual" essences. William Houitt, Colleague Carlisle, thus formulated the foundations of this new science: "We are constantly surrounded by people from the world of the spirits and could see them if the carnal and worldly barriers did not get up before our gaze. Wine such a planning position of affairs was, according to Houitt, the Great French Revolution, who was deprived of a man of spiritual eyes and left the eyes of bodily. However, some believed that the degradation process began even earlier. The same Moses, withdrawing Jews from Egypt, communicated mainly not with physical fellow travelers, but with spiritual entities.

Vision of this kind was extremely popular in all layers of the British society, but, oddly enough, almost no effect on the genre of ghost history. Unlike esotericov, as attentive to ghosts, readers and writers of these stories did not at all claim to conquer new spheres and worlds. On the contrary, ghosts from the stories were designed to protect the sphere of family, private life from the invasion of a large, public world of science and technology. The embodiment of this idea of ​​the domesticated ghost will be published in 1887 "Centrawille Ghost" Oscar Wilde – the most famous parody of Victorian horns of the XIX century. The American family acquires a castle with a ghost, but instead of going to the ancient spirit, introduces him with the benefits of civilization, and after he helps him find, finally peace.

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