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“Ghosts in the looking-glass of our minds”: i detective dell’occulto

Maurizio Ascari


Although Sherlock Holmes has been considered as the prototype of the scientific detective, Doyle’s curiosity notoriously embraced paranormal phenomena such as spiritualism, clairvoyance and even the existence of fairies… Far from being atypical, this attitude is revealing of the tension between the natural and the supernatural that marked the decades straddling across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the advancement of science was regarded by many as conducive to a better understanding of what had been previously consigned to superstition. Given this climate of syncretism, it does not come as a surprise that those years saw the development of a hybrid subgenre in which ‘psychic detectives’ investigate cases often involving supernatural agencies. This article discusses four collections of stories of psychic detection published at the turn of the century, together with their reception in the Golden Age period, finally hinting at the renewed popularity psychic detectives have recently attained thanks to tv series such as Medium (2005-11) and Ghost Whisperer (2005-10).

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Copyright (©) 2014 Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi

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© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto