Science as Spectacle: Monsters, Magic, and the Supernatural

Posted on Posted in Symposium Session

Galvinism, ghosts, mesermism, and mediums — Victorian audiences were enthralled with discoveries that blurred the lines between science and magic, life and death.

Presented at Symposium 2019 by Dr. Renea Frey

Public demonstrations of scientific discoveries and supernatural wonders were both popular entertainment in the nineteenth century, which sometimes made it difficult to tell the difference. As Victorians grappled with questions about the source of life, the creation of species, and the origins of existence, scientists and showmen alike sought their attention in public spectacles of wonder. This workshop will explore popular Victorian discoveries and demonstrations that amazed audiences and inspired further exploration.


Dr. Renea Frey is a professor of Rhetoric and the Writing Program Director in the English Department at Xavier University. Her research interests include nineteenth-century writing, persuasion, culture, and discourse, including women’s writing and the emergence of science as a discipline.

Click HERE for the 2019 Symposium Schedule

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