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Disintegrated subjects : Gothic fiction, mental science and the fin-de-siècle discourse of dissociation Rebry, Natasha L. 2013

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Disintegrated Subjects: Gothic Fiction, Mental Science and the fin-de-siècle Discourse of Dissociation by Natasha L. Rebry  B.A., Wilfrid Laurier University, 2003 M.A., Wilfrid Laurier University, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  Doctorate of Philosophy in THE COLLEGE OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Interdisciplinary Studies) [English/History of Psychology]  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Okanagan)  March 2013 © Natasha L. Rebry, 2013  ii  Abstract The end of the nineteenth century witnessed a rise in popularity of Gothic fiction, which included the publication of works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), George Du Maurier’s Trilby (1894), Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan (1894) and The Three Impostors (1895), and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897), featuring menacing foreign mesmerists, hypnotising villains, somnambulistic criminals and spectacular dissociations of personality. Such figures and tropes were not merely the stuff of Gothic fiction, however; from 1875 to the close of the century, cases of dual or multiple personality were reported with increasing frequency, and dissociation – a splitting off of certain mental processes from conscious awareness – was a topic widely discussed in Victorian medical, scientific, social, legal and literary circles. Cases of dissociation and studies of dissociogenic practices like mesmerism and hypnotism compelled attention as they seemed to indicate the fragmented, porous and malleable nature of the human mind and will, challenging longstanding beliefs in a unified soul or mind governing human action. Figured as plebeian, feminine, degenerative and “primitive” in a number of discourses related to mental science, dissociative phenomena offered a number of rich metaphoric possibilities for writers of Gothic fiction. This dissertation connects the rise of interest in dissociation with the rise of Gothic fiction in the fin-de-siècle, arguing that late-nineteenth-century Gothic fiction not only incorporated and responded to the theories of Victorian mental scientists on dissociation but also intelligently grappled with and actively challenged the often hegemonic and regulatory nature of such theories by demonstrating the close proximities between normal and so-called deviant psychologies.  iii  Fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction posed a fundamental challenge to predominant views on the dissociative subject by demonstrating that Englishmen were not exempt from the experience of multiplicity and psychic fragmentation, hence not as different from women, “degenerates” and “primitives” as they believed. Furthermore, Gothic texts at times even influenced the theories of mental science, providing mental scientists with a language for the expression of the distressing nature of mental disunity, thus demonstrating the circuitous nature of the relationship between mental science and Gothic fiction.  iv  Table of Contents Abstract .................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................... iv Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................ vi Dedication .............................................................................................................................. vii Chapter 1: Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 1.1  Terrains of Emergence ............................................................................................. 7  1.2  Gothic and Mental Science: The Moebius Strip ..................................................... 29  1.3  Methodology........................................................................................................... 52  Chapter 2: From Doubles to Multiples: R.L. Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Alternate Consciousness Paradigm in Psychology and Gothic Fiction…………………………..……………………………………………………………62 2.1  “The Second Self” in Psychology and Fiction .......................................................... 76  2.2  The Tenuous ‘I’ of Dissociative Narrative ............................................................... 97  2.3  Multiplicity and Masculinity.................................................................................. 113  Chapter 3: Manliness, Mesmerism and Empire in Richard Marsh’s The Beetle……..129 3.1  Mesmerism, Hypnotism and the Question of Self-Control ................................ 134  3.2  Richard Marsh's The Beetle................................................................................... 158  Chapter 4: Animal Magnetism and the Question of Will: George Du Maurier’s Trilby ………………………………………………………………………………………………193 4.1  Dissociogenic Practices and the Limits of Knowledge ........................................ 194  4.2  George Du Maruier's Trilby ................................................................................... 208  Chapter 5: Gothic Brain, Uncanny Mind: Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan .…..253 5.1  Arthur Machen's Gothic Brain ............................................................................. 257  5.2  Finding the Soul in the Brain ................................................................................. 268  5.3  Shock and the Debilitating Brain .......................................................................... 282  v  Chapter 6: Conclusion: “The Ramblings of a Mind Terminally Damaged”: Contemporary Narratives of Dissociation ………………………………………………300 Works Cited ......................................................................................................................... 322  vi  Acknowledgements I could not have written this dissertation without the help of my supervisor, Jodey Castricano. Throughout this process she taught, challenged and supported me. Our work together, both before and during the dissertation process, made me the scholar I am, and I cannot thank her enough for her endless patience and encouragement. My committee members, Oliver Lovesey and Cynthia Mathieson, and my instructors and colleagues in the Critical Studies Department were important parts of this process, and I would like to thank them as well. A special thanks goes to Elizabeth Ihrig and the staff at the Bakken Museum and Library in Minneapolis. Without the help of the Bakken’s Research Travel Grant and the library’s outstanding collection of resources on electro-magnetic medicine, much of my work on hypnotism and animal magnetism would have been incomplete. I would also like to thank my students. Many of my ideas in the dissertation were refined in the classroom, in response to their questions and comments. Our discussions often allowed me to see these issues in new and interesting ways. I hope this process has made me a better and more knowledgeable teacher. Finally, I would like to thank my mother Darlene, my partner Clay and my companion Chantal. Without their help and support during the dissertation process, this document would simply not exist. Thank you all: I could not have done it without you.  vii  Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to the influential women in my life, especially my nana, whose kindness, generosity, patience, support and enduring love helped me to believe that all things are possible.  1  Chapter 1: Introduction It is characteristic of the human condition that each of us thinks of himself as a unity, all the while experiencing the greatest multiplicity. 1  In the fall of 1888 a Parisian lawyer named Emile became the subject of both legal and scientific interest (Hacking, “Automatisme Ambulatoire” 40). This interest began when Emile, acting contrarily to his usual character, destroyed his uncle’s furniture, tore up his uncle’s books and manuscripts, and incurred 500 Fr of gambling "debts," which led to a charge of swindling. Since he could not be located by authorities, he was tried and convicted in absentia. After stealing a small sum of money, he was apprehended and charged with theft. Both charges were later dismissed when evidence was produced that Emile was not fully present during these events, that is to say that Emile had become someone else. In describing his experience, Emile claims, "A new life, a new memory, a new me, begins. He walks, takes the train, makes visits, buys things, gambles, etc." (emphasis added, qtd. in Hacking, Automatisme Ambulatoire 39). Emile was diagnosed with Automatisme Ambulatoire, or as it is understood today, dissociative fugue, a state in which the subject suffers from amnesia, takes on a new personality and travels beyond his or her typical everyday range of movement. This story was presented to the Académie des Sciences Morales on 20 January 1890 as a case of ambulatory automatism in an hysteric by the highly respected professor of medicine and hygiene, Dr. Adrien Proust (Hacking, “Automatisme Ambulatoire 40). Commenting on this case, English psychical researcher Frederick Myers noted that Emile’s condition was a classic case of double or multiple  1  Adam Crabtree Multiple Man: Explorations in Possession and Multiple Personality. Toronto: Somerville House, 1997.  2  personality, a state in which a “secondary consciousness” takes over the usual consciousness of the subject (Qtd. in Link-Heer 20). As Adam Crabtree explains it, “In multiple personality disorder the individual spontaneously manifests more than one cohesive personality, and the extra personality (or personalities) makes no claim to an independent existence outside the body of the individual” (From Mesmer to Freud 288). Cases of dissociation, such as Emile’s, indicated that there might be many ‘minds’ operating simultaneously within each human being. Stories like Emile’s were not uncommon in the nineteenth century. From 1875 to the close of the century, cases of dual or multiple personality were reported with increasing frequency, and dissociation – a splitting off of certain mental processes (thoughts, emotions, memories and sense of identity) from conscious awareness, of which Multiple Personality Disorder is an extreme example – was a topic widely discussed in medical, scientific, social, legal and literary circles, especially in England, France, Germany and the United States. As Elaine Showalter demonstrates in The Female Malady, there was an active exchange of ideas between scholars in these countries during the nineteenth century, especially in fields devoted to the mental sciences as psychiatrists and clinicians regularly visited each other’s asylums and read each other’s publications. However, by the end of the century, “each society [had] established its own moral, medical, and mental boundaries” (Showalter, Female Malady 6). Of particular importance to this study is the British context, which offers an especially rich area for investigation because of the interest in dissociation shared by mental physiologists, neurologists, psychologists, psychical researchers and for my purposes, writers of fiction. Studies of dissociation not only became the cornerstone for  3  Victorian theories of consciousness, the structure of mind, and the nature of individual personality; they also came to symbolise and even inform a number of nineteenth-century ideas on gender, sexuality and national identity. As such, dissociative states, like alternating consciousness or multiple personality, and dissociogenic practices,2 like mesmerism and hypnotism, offered a number of rich metaphoric possibilities for writers of fiction. Debates regarding theories of the unconscious and the structure of mind were quickly incorporated into Victorian literature, especially Gothic literature, which has perhaps always shared a close affinity with scientific and philosophical texts. In the late nineteenth century, there was little sense of a divide between literary and scientific explorations of psychology because as Karl Miller observes, “Literature and science collaborated in spreading the gospel which enjoined the plurality of the mind” (329). Sonu Shamdasani, who specialises in the history of psychiatry and psychology, also demonstrates that lines demarcating the “science” of psychology from the “fiction” of literature were not clearly drawn until well into the twentieth century. According to Shamdasani, “writers came into close proximity and collision with the researches of psychologists, who were engaged in similar explorations” (“The Red Book of C G Jung” 194). As artists, writers and psychologists began to explore the same terrain of mental experience, “writers and artists borrowed from psychologists, and vice versa” (Shamdasani, “The Red Book of C G Jung” 194). The profusion of experimentation in psychology in the last half of the nineteenth century was paralleled in literature; on all sides, individuals were searching for forms to depict the complex nature of mental experience. As Shamdasani puts it, “Writers tried to throw off the limitations of  2  i.e. those practices which induce dissociation  4  representational conventions to explore and depict the full range of inner experience – dreams, visions, and fantasies. They experimented with new forms and utilized old forms in novel ways” (“The Red Book of C G Jung” 194). Nowhere were these experiments more discernible than in Gothic literature, which had a longstanding attraction to tropes such as the doppelganger and double, possession, dreams and visions, the unreliability of memory and the instability of identity.3 Tales of menacing foreign mesmerists, hypnotising villains, and dissociations of personality came to dominate fin-de-siècle Gothic texts, which conversely captivated the attention of psychologists and researchers like Sigmund Freud,4 Morton Prince and Frederick Myers.5 A number of influential studies have highlighted the importance of theories of dissociation in the development of psychology, psychiatry, and more general conceptions of personality and personhood. Henri Ellenberger’s pivotal study The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (1970) and Adam Crabtree’s From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing (1993) and Multiple Man: Explorations in Possession and Multiple Personality (1997) consider the study of dissociative states paramount in the development of contemporary theories of mental health and mental health therapies. Recently, scholars have become increasingly interested in interdisciplinary studies of Victorian mental science and popular literature. Jill Matus’s 3  For example, see Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), Matthew Lewis’ The Monk (1796), Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), and E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sandman” (1816), to name a few. 4 See for example “The Uncanny” (1919). 5 Both Prince and Myers discuss Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in their works on Multiple Personality Disorder. Prince mentions Stevenson’s work in his Dissociation of a Personality (1905) and Myers’ “Multiplex Personality” (1887) resembles Stevenson’s text in a number of ways (discussed in Chapter 1) and he also wrote Stevenson letters in which he discusses the merits of Jekyll and Hyde for studies of psychology.  5  Shock, Memory and the Unconscious in Victorian Fiction (2009) explores the concept of shock in Victorian fiction and psychology, and both Hillary Grimes and Anne Stiles focus on the unique relationship between fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction and the mental sciences. Grimes’ The Late Victorian Gothic: Mental Science, the Uncanny, and Scenes of Writing (2011) addresses the dialogue between science and the supernatural found in psychical research, psychology and Gothic texts. Similarly, in Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century (2012), Stiles examines the impact of neurological experimentation on late-Victorian Gothic romances, arguing that Gothic texts often criticised the rigid, linear and objective viewpoints of neurology. These studies have been useful in highlighting the ways in which our understandings of non-unitary mental states like hysteria, possession, somnambulism and multiple personality have been predominantly formed by what Ian Hacking calls “the literary imagination” (Rewriting the Soul 232). In Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (1995), Hacking asserts that fiction rather than medicine is often responsible for introducing new models of mind and consciousness to the general public. Hacking makes “the strong point” that The whole language of many selves had been hammered out by generations of romantic poets and novelists, great and small, and also in innumerable broadsheets and feuilletons too ephemeral for general knowledge today.... [T]he literary imagination has formed the language in which we speak of people – be they real, imagined, or, the most common case, of mixed origin. When it comes to the  6  language that will be used to describe ourselves, each of us is a half-breed of imagination and reality. (232-3) In particular, Hacking cites the work of Gothic writers, such as Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Robert Louis Stevenson, and James Hogg, to present his view that works of fiction have “disseminated and entrenched ideas about the non-unitary mind, doubles, trance-states, and possession” (Matus and Goldman 615). However, Hacking’s research does not thoroughly explore the link between fiction, mental science, and its ambient culture in fin-de-siècle studies of dissociation, and it is this link that my study seeks to investigate. In this study, I will connect the rise of interest in dissociation with the rise of Gothic fiction in the last few decades of the nineteenth century, arguing that latenineteenth-century Gothic fiction not only incorporated and responded to the theories of Victorian mental scientists on dissociation but also intelligently grappled with and actively challenged the often hegemonic and regulatory nature of such theories by demonstrating the close proximities between normal and so-called deviant psychologies; furthermore, Gothic texts at times even influenced these theories, as was the case with Robert Louis Stevenson’s powerful novella, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).6 Thus, Gothic fiction provided mental scientists with a language for the expression of the distressing nature of mental disunity. This study will build upon Terry Castle’s (1995) assertion that the “post-Enlightenment language of mental experience is suffused with a displaced supernaturalism” (84) as well as the work of Kelly Hurley (1996), Andrew Smith  6  See for example Frederic Myers’ “Multiplex Personality” and personal correspondence with Stevenson, Morton Prince’s Dissociation of a Personality, and the work on dual personality done by Scottish psychiatrist Lewis Bruce in the 1890s.  7  (2004) and Anne Stiles (2007, 2012), which suggests the “Gothic” nature of several discourses of the late-nineteenth century – degeneration, medicine and neurology respectively – in order to establish the “Gothic” character of the discourse of dissociation, a characterisation that has persisted throughout the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Using the late-nineteenth-century discourse of dissociation as an example, this study will demonstrate the circuitous and reciprocal relationship between Gothic and mental science. 1.1 Terrains of Emergence: the British fin-de-siècle Roger Luckhurst claims that a history of a concept has to “map the first surfaces of [its] emergence” (emphasis original, The Invention of Telepathy 41). In other words, an analysis of a concept like dissociation needs to “examine the terrains which governed its appearance, shaped its potential utterances, endowed its formulations with possible meanings, and created its believers and sceptics” (Luckhurst, The Invention of Telepathy 1011). As Bruno Latour argues, this is never an easy task as any scientific concept “is a very tight knot at the centre of a net. It is hard [to understand] because it has to hold so many heterogeneous resources together” (106). The theory of dissociation that emerges at the end of the nineteenth century is no exception. The fin-de-siècle has been characterised as a time of social anxiety, defined by concerns about a loss of religious faith, the effects of an expanding metropolis, the possibility of degeneration,7 the implications of the New Woman,8 the stability of the  7  A socially-derived counter-narrative to Darwin’s theory of evolution, which suggests the possibility of human regression or de-evolution. 8 A term first coined by Sarah Grand and Ouida in a pair of articles featured in North American Review in 1984 to describe a new generation of women who defied social propriety by living independently and earning their own living. See Sally Ledger “Who was the New Woman?” in The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1997. 9-34.  8  Empire and unease about scientific advances.9 Kelly Hurley claims that evolutionism, criminal anthropology, degeneration theory, sexology and pre-Freudian psychology all articulated new models of the human as discontinuous in identity (5). In addition to sexology’s challenge to the belief in a natural link between sex, gender and sexuality, Charles Darwin’s theory of human evolution was perceived as disastrous and traumatic as it revealed human ancestry to be the result of random events rather than a divinely-ordered design. Martin Danahay claims that even though evolution became an established principle of biology in the late nineteenth century, it remained a controversial subject in wider Victorian society due to the challenge it posed to human exceptionalism.10 Danahay writes that in suggesting humans and primates shared a common ancestor, “Evolutionary theory was unsettling to the Victorians because it dissolved the boundary between the human and the animal” (Introduction 19). In a letter to Darwin, geologist and clergyman Adam Sedgwick lamented of the “absolute sorrow” with which he read parts of On The Origin of Species (1859), claiming that to deny “There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical” would be to “sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history” (Letter 2548).  9  See for example Elaine Showalter Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle (New York: Viking, 1990), Kelly Hurley The Gothic Body: Sexuality, Materialism, and Degeneration at the fin de siècle. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), Judith Walkowitz City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (Women in Culture and Society) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), Linda Dryden The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles: Stevenson, Wilde and Wells (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) or Stephen Arata Fictions of Loss in the Victorian Fin de Siècle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 10  Also known as Anthropocentrism, human exceptionalism is the belief in the human species’ preeminence over other animals. This can also be thought of as speciesism, a term coined by Richard Ryder to mean the discrimination against or exploitation of certain animal species by human beings based on an assumption of human superiority. See Richard Ryder “Speciesism” in Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Ed. Marc Bekoff. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. 320.  9  The nineteenth century saw traditional understandings of human identity undermined and radically transfigured, especially in the last few decades. Tony Davies argues that during the nineteenth century, various and sometimes competing understandings of what it meant to be human emerged so that “different and clearly incompatible versions of the ‘human’ ... [were circulating] within the orbit of a single concept” (19). However, what was fairly consistent was the Enlightenment belief that “man” was a rational, agentic being,11 based on the model articulated by René Descartes in the seventeenth century – a model that is so entrenched in Western culture that Neil Badmington suggests it “continues to enjoy the status of ‘common sense’” (5). Badmington claims that Descartes “arrived at a... remarkably influential account of what it means to be human” when at the beginning of the Discourse on the Method he asserts that reason “is the only thing that makes us men [sic] and distinguishes us from the beasts” (qtd. in Badmington 3). According to Badmington, in the Cartesian model, “the critical determinant of being is rational, fully-conscious thought” (5) so that “Rational thought, quite simply, makes humans human” (3). For Descartes, the thinking subject is a unified subject, made cohesive through conscious self awareness (cogito ergo sum). According to Stephen Gaukroger, in his Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes offered a radically new system of philosophy, one that challenged the long-established Aristotelian model that posited sense perception as the starting point for knowledge. In contrast to Aristotle, Descartes argued that the senses should be subjected to intense skeptical doubt, claiming instead that 11  This is not to say that such a belief was not challenged. Indeed, studies in subconscious and unconscious mental activity began to reveal that humans might be subject to drives and desires they cannot control, as is the case with much of the work of psychical researchers, like Frederick Myers, and the work of Sigmund Freud.  10  the intellect is the way to gain true knowledge, forcing one to become “responsible for one’s cognitive life” (Gaukroger 1). The result is a new conception of mind and a new conception of subjectivity that elevates mind as the center of being. The unified, rational and cognitively sound subject became the basis for Enlightenment conceptions of the subject. According to Stuart Hall, the Enlightenment subject: was based on a conception of the human person as a fully centred, unified individual, endowed with the capacities of reason, consciousness and action, whose “centre” consisted of an inner core which first emerged when the subject was born, and unfolded with it, while remaining essentially the same — continuous or “identical” with itself — throughout the individual's existence. The essential centre of the self was a person's identity... this was a very “individualist” conception of the subject and “his” (for Enlightenment subjects were usually described as male) identity. (274) Here, Hall identifies Enlightenment subject as continuous, individuated and masculine in identity, traits that would be strikingly undermined by the dissociated subject of the nineteenth century. Case studies of dissociation sensationally challenged many of the existing models of subjectivity available in the nineteenth century. Much like Darwin’s theory of natural selection challenged traditional views of intelligent creation and human exceptionalism, case studies of dissociative phenomena involving psychic-splitting, multiple personality and somnambulism, like Emile’s, challenged traditional assumptions about the nature of identity as being unified and integrated as well as the assumption that a person has only one mind.  11  Amy Louise Miller writes that in Western cultures, “The reality of self is constructed as being local and unified” to such an extent that “unity is the sole allowably ‘normal’ state” (227). Miller calls this the “local view” of self: self is “attached” to and “bounded” by the body in time and space. In this system, “I” am a separate individual “who exists locally within the boundary of my skin. My thoughts take place in my mind, the wiring for which is in my brain, inside my head. There is an assumed one-to-one relationship between my mind and my body” (227). The view of mind held by many Victorians was that it was an entity of spiritual or incorporeal nature. English physiologist and neurologist Henry Charlton Bastian in his text Brain as an Organ of Mind (1880) claimed that: [The] word “Mind” is generally used as a collective designation for the subjective states which reveal themselves to each one of us in consciousness, and which we infer to exist in other beings like ourselves….the word “Mind” comes to be used most frequently, not as a general abstract name answering to no independent reality, but as though it corresponded to a real and positive something, existing of and by itself. (138-9) This “real and positive something” was most often interpreted as the Ego or a noncorporeal embodiment of subjective states: sensation and emotion, intellect and will or volition (Bastian 139); therefore, “mind” came to designate not only consciousness but also subjectivity or personality. Stephen Braude suggests that dissociative states, like Multiple Personality Disorder, “challenge various familiar assumptions about the nature of personhood. Most notably (and quire roughly speaking), we tend to assume that a person has no more than one mind, or that there is a one: one correlation between persons and  12  bodies” (66).12 As more and more cases of dual and multiple personality arose, the belief that each individual possessed only one “mind” was called into question, creating anxiety by destabilising the long-held understanding of “man” as a rational and unified being. These nineteenth-century challenges to self-definition and existing models of identity also created what Elaine Showalter identifies as an intense longing for “strict border controls around the definition of gender, as well as race, class, and nationality” (Sexual Anarchy 4). In her pivotal study of the fin-de-siècle Showalter contends that “if the different races can be kept in their places, if the various classes can be held in their proper districts of the city, and if men and women can be fixed in their separate spheres,” than a comforting sense of identity and permanence can be preserved (Sexual Anarchy 4). Showalter demonstrates that the boundaries between different classes and races were among the most important lines of delineation for English society. Fears of colonial rebellion, miscegenation, crossbreeding, and intermarriage, “fueled scientific and political interest in establishing clear lines of demarcation, between black and white, East and West” (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 5). The preservation of the English nation was also tied to the theory of urban degeneration and the belief that poverty would lead to a deterioration of the race. As England and Western Europe were hit by an economic depression in the 1870s and the term ‘unemployment’ first comes into use in the next decade (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 5), the fear of deterioration and decline became more pronounced.  12  Of interest on this topic is Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok’s theory of the phantom in The Shell and the Kernel (1978), which suggests that the subject is haunted by the psychic conflicts and traumas (the “secrets”) of his/her ancestors.  13  As many scholarly accounts of the fin-de-siècle have demonstrated, the concept of degeneration was widely influential. William Greenslade, for example, argues that “The late Victorian establishment and the propertied classes generally harboured anxieties about poverty and crime, about public health and national and imperial fitness, about decadent artists, ‘new women’ and homosexuals,” all of which were expressed in a language of “degenerationism” (2). Developed out of fears of national decline, tainted heredity, and the evolutionary model proposed by Darwin and taken up by the Social Darwinists, degeneration is the belief that humans can regress or “de-evolve” under certain conditions. This view was applied to physical, mental and moral conditions alike. In terms of psychology, the capacity for dissociation was seen as pathological by many who studied mental states. French psychologist and philosopher Pierre Janet is credited with developing the theory of dissociation as it is understood today. Dissociation was the conceptual foundation to his understanding of the nature of hysterical functioning and the intrinsic structure of the human psyche more generally. Janet posited two basic laws of dissociation: that ideas can be conscious but not associated with the grouping of sensations and memories that make up the habitual ‘I’; and, that every phenomenon artificially associated with or attached to a secondary or subsequent personality was withdrawn from the awareness of the normal personality (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 313). Although many contemporary understandings of dissociation suggest that the process involves a disassociation of psychic material from conscious awareness, Janet believed that this was really a process of association, one in which ideas and memories are grouped as they occur into one personality or another. As Adam Crabtree explains Janet’s theory, these groups  14  “will have various degrees of complexity; some of them are sufficiently complex to constitute a personality. The groups begin as and remain isolated units. If the normal consciousness does not have knowledge of an event, it never did have knowledge of it. Forgetting is not involved” (From Mesmer to Freud 313). According to Stephen Braude, Janet saw mental states as having particular patterns of associative links between them and believed that when these links are broken, certain mental states become dissociated from the rest. Janet believed that such pathological dissociations only happened in individuals suffering from particular kinds of mental illness (i.e., hysteria) and that such occurrences were the result of mental or moral weakness. According to Eugene Taylor, Janet subscribed to the view that this weakness was the result of a hereditary depletion of the nerve force, which, coupled with a series of traumatic or exhausting experiences, resulted in a degeneration of the synthesising function of the brain (22). In Faces of Degeneration Daniel Pick traces the roots of degeneration theory to the 1840s and 1850s in the work of French physician Bénédict Augustin Morel, who attempted to explain psychological abnormalities through a theory of mental decline. In his text Traité des dégénérescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales de l'espèce humaine et des causes qui produisent ces variétés maladives (1857), he discusses the nature, causes, and symptoms of degeneration, citing heredity as the leading cause of mental illness. Morel would later claim that alcohol and drug usage could also be important factors in the course of mental decline (Pick, Faces of Degeneration). Although theories of degeneration were drawn from a variety of sources, it was Darwin’s theory of natural selection that came to dominate discussions of “de-evolution” in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  15  Followers of Darwin, like E. Ray Lankester, maintained that if organisms could evolve as Darwin’s model suggested, they could also “de-evolve” into less complex forms. Pick’s study indicates that ideas about degeneration reached their peak in the last few decades of the nineteenth century, as Italian doctor Cesare Lombroso developed his theories on criminals and writer Max Nordau developed his theories on fin-de-siècle decadence. Lombroso’s pioneering text Criminal Man (1876) argued that criminals were atavistic representatives of “an earlier, more violent period in human development” with brains and physiognomies visibly different from other humans (Danahay, Introduction 20). Nordau, a journalist and social critic, maintained that the human species’ capacity for degeneration was evidenced by particular literary and cultural trends, such as the “amoral artistic posturing of a dramatist such as Ibsen and through the quite different writings of Zola and Wilde” as well as in the “‘diseased’ art,” which indicated “the presence of corruption, and was itself potentially corrupting” (Andrew Smith 15). Thus certain types of art, as well as the ways in which they were consumed, could be considered degenerative in the same way particular mental states and biological determinants were in medical and scientific communities. As the above examples make clear, the language of degeneration filtered into many aspects of Victorian life. It is no surprise, then, that discussions of degeneration found expression in Victorian literature. Linda Dryden claims that the late nineteenth-century novel [Was] a powerful and influential medium where these issues were laid bare and debated, where the real concerns of the late nineteenth-century could be dramatized through the lives of fictional protagonists and scrutinized through the  16  acuity of the creative artist. Political, social, moral and scientific debates of the fin de siècle provided writers with much of the material out of which to fashion their dynamic narratives, and allowed them to engage creatively with the concerns that were occupying the most influential thinkers of the time and the population at large. (1) Similarly, Greenslade’s study demonstrates how theories of degeneration “seemed to provide plausible explanations for disturbing social changes, and new insights into human character and morality” (inside cover). Gothic fiction, already permeated by images of “perversion, atavism and forms of monstrosity” (Andrew Smith 6), seemed especially well suited to explorations of dissociative and degenerative states since, as this study will demonstrate, theories of dissociation and degeneration constitute two traditions of thought that became “Gothicised” during this period (Andrew Smith 34). Kelly Hurley argues that degeneration is a “crucial imaginative and narrative source for the fin-de-siècle Gothic” (45). Theories of atavism and mental decline inform many popular Gothic narratives of the finde-siècle, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). In the novel, Mina Harker remarks to Van Helsing, “The Count is a criminal and of criminal type. Nordau and Lombroso would so classify him” (Stoker 383). According to Pick’s reading of Dracula, “the ambiguities of representation in the novel are in part bound up with contradictions of connotation in the wider discourse of degeneration” (Faces of Degeneration 167). On the one hand, the novel attributes degeneration to an invasive, alien source in the figure of the Count while, on the other hand, it represents degeneration as a “blood disease, symbolically transmitted through vampirism,” which suggests that “the vampire hunters are themselves pathologised  17  through contact with the Count” (Andrew Smith 34). Thus, in Stoker’s text all characters, British and foreign, are subject to the potential threat of “morbid accumulation” (Pick, Faces of Degeneration 168) represented by degeneration. One particular employment of degeneration theory was found in discussions of poverty and urban slums. The condition of the urban poor and the slum areas they inhabited were, as Martin Danahay notes, causes of much concern throughout the nineteenth century, but in the 1880s and 1890s, the debate was informed by an ethnocentric and racist vocabulary of degeneration that characterised the slum-dweller as “a throwback to a more ‘primitive’ kind of human being” (Introduction 18). In The Town Dweller: His Needs and Wants (1889) J. Milner Fothergill puts forth a similarly racialised thesis that the inhabitants of inner-city London are even a separate species from other English citizens. Fothergill takes the “smaller, lighter and darker” appearance of the urban poor to reflect a “deterioration of the race” from the superior Anglo-Dane type found in the countryside (113). Showalter contends that “while for most of the nineteenth century the urban boundaries between the classes were clearly demarcated, with the poor restricted to working-class districts of the East End, urban homelessness and general unemployment made the borderline between the classes startlingly visible” (Sexual Anarchy 6). With London rapidly expanding from about two million inhabitants when Victoria came into reign to six and a half million at the time of her death (Christ 1043), crowding and overpopulation, homelessness and poverty became widespread concerns. In response to B.S. Rowntree’s contention in his book Poverty: A Study of Town Life (1901) that thirty percent of the population of the city of York lived in a state of poverty,  18  popular journalist W.T. Stead wrote, “If we are to hold our own among the nations in the severe commercial struggle that lies before us the mass of the people must be physically and mentally efficient. It is the best fed and the best taught nation that will survive in the long run” (Qtd. in Greenslade 182). Likewise, William Greenslade notes that by the end of the nineteenth century “the fate of the nation and the health of the mass of the people had come to seem inseparable. The physical and moral consequences of poverty at home and the threat of imperial weakness abroad were repeatedly spoken of together” (182). Greenslade goes on to quote social imperialist Lord Rosebery as stating “in the rookeries and slums which still survive, an imperial race cannot be reared. You can scarcely produce anything in those foul nests of crime and disease but a progeny doomed from its birth to misery and ignominy” (182-183). Furthermore, as John Tosh contends this “imperial race” had a distinctly masculine character in the late nineteenth century: “The imperial project was presented to the public in unequivocally masculine terms, partly with the intention of encouraging young men to pursue their careers overseas as soldiers, administrators or emigrants at a time when the empire was believed to be under stress” (7). Tosh maintains that the empire “was above all a massive assertion of masculine energies” for the West (67) as more than most areas of national life, empire was seen as a projection of masculinity with “manliness and empire confirm[ing] one another, guarantee[ing] one another, [and] enhance[ing] one another” (193). The empire was “a man’s business” in at least two senses. Not only was its acquisition and control dependent upon the energy and ruthlessness of men, but also its place in the popular imagination was mediated through literary and visual images which “consistently emphasized positive male attributes” (193). Empire was, in a  19  fundamental sense, a test of the nation’s virility. A heightened awareness of threats overseas induced a harsher definition of masculinity at home: “if the empire was in danger, men must be produced who were tough, realistic, unsqueamish and stoical” (Tosh 194). As critics such as Tosh, Josephine Guy and Andrew Smith have demonstrated, however, gender ideologies which sought to define masculinity in the nineteenth century were “neither monolithic nor hegemonic” (Guy 465). There was considerable disagreement over issues such as the relationship between sex and gender, the nature of sexual desire and the acceptable level of “performance” inherent in the social presentation of “manliness.” What was fairly consistent, however, was the belief that courage, independence, honour and stability were the desirable traits for the British masculine subject. 13 As Herbert Sussman makes clear in his study Victorian Masculinities (1995), conceptualisations of masculine identity were widely debated – at times challenged and at times reinforced – in the pages of Victorian fiction. Sussman argues that through fictional representations of masculinity, Victorian artists were able to emphasise the constructed and multiple nature of the masculine and to call attention to “the historical contingency of... formations of manliness and of male power itself, thus questioning male dominance and supporting the possibility of altering the configuration of what is marked as masculine” (9). As scholars like Andrew Smith and Cyndy Hendershot have demonstrated, Gothic fiction in particular worked to highlight inconsistencies and uncertainties in Victorian conceptions of masculinity or maleness. Hendershot’s text The Animal Within (1998) puts forth the argument that one of Gothic’s primary concerns is to reveal the inherent contradictions and 13  For example, see Michael Roper and John Tosh’s introduction to Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800. London: Routledge, 1991.  20  idiosyncrasies in existing models of masculinity. According to Hendershot, Gothic undermines “normative, heterosexual masculinity” through its presentation of this supposedly coherent subject position “as one frequently incoherent and plagued by insecurities and varieties beyond the story of heterosexual man” (3). Thus when Dracula’s Jonathan Harker closes his eyes in “languorous ecstasy” and waits “with beating heart” for the “two sharp teeth” of the vampire woman resting on his throat to penetrate his body, Harker’s heterosexual identity is challenged; for, as Christopher Craft writes, “Dracula's daughters offer Harker a feminine form but a masculine penetration" (110) as their vampiric bodies represent “the power to penetrate" (109). Such a scene inverts the typical gender scripts of the nineteenth century by making men passive subjects of a female penetration. This version of male passivity was seen by many as indicative of biological and cultural regression. In response to theories of national decline and degeneration, some, like criminologist Max Nordau, argued that through the masculine, and decidedly middle-class, traits of hard-work and level-headedness, society could be revitalised. Although Nordau’s text Degeneration (1892) was published towards the end of the nineteenth century, the idea of an essential link between the vitality of men and the vitality of society had been established much earlier. One example of this link can be found in the work of Samuel Smiles, whose book Self-Help (1859) endorsed an openly-contrived version of ideal masculinity, claiming that the more a man modeled himself after the ideal, the more ideal he would become. According to Smiles, the cultivation of traits such as “Energy and Courage” in men was of “the greatest importance” as “it is the energy of individual men that gives strength to a State, and confers a value even upon the very soil which they  21  cultivate” (228). For Smiles, traits like energy, power and freedom of will “may be defined to be the very central power of character in a man – in a word, it is the Man himself” (229). However, the act of defining and thus safeguarding masculinity was problematised by a number of profound social shifts at the end of the nineteenth century. It is by now standard to note that the fin-de-siècle is pervaded by anxieties about the stability of traditional constructs of gender and sexuality. Critics such as Pamela Thurschwell and Elaine Showalter demonstrate how deep and far-reaching these anxieties really were. Showalter, borrowing from the novelist George Gissing, classifies the 1880s and 1890s as decades of “sexual anarchy,” as a proliferation of contradictions in gendered identity appeared to break down the laws that governed sexual identity and behaviour; as it was thought “men became women. Women became men. Gender and country were put in doubt” (Sexual Anarchy 3). She goes on to claim that “What was most alarming to the fin de siècle was that sexuality and sex roles might no longer be contained within the neat and permanent borderlines of gender categories. Men and women were not as clearly identified and separated as they had been” (Sexual Anarchy 9). Figures such as the New Woman and the “dandy” emerge alongside the introduction of the terms “feminism” and “homosexuality” and worked to redefine the meanings of both femininity and masculinity (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 3). Both Showalter and Judith Walkowitz have persuasively argued that the fin-de-siècle was dominated by a series of debates about gender related to women’s increased desire for autonomy and the pressure for social change. While these social changes had a profound impact on women, in many ways men felt the impact of these shifts as more acutely threatening. Many men found the redefinition of their social role the source of much  22  anxiety. As Showalter points out, “opportunities to succeed at home and in the Empire were not always abundant; the stresses of maintaining an external mask of confidence and strength led to nervous disorders, such as neurasthenia,” and the required suppression of ‘feminine’ feelings of nurturance and affection created a sense of inner division and turmoil for many men (Sexual Anarchy 9). In his study of late nineteenth-century models of masculinity, Andrew Smith argues that the dominant, largely middle-class masculine scripts at the fin-de-siècle came to be associated with “disease, degeneration and perversity” in scientific, quasi-scientific, as well as literary contexts (1). Smith argues that a “bifurcated model of masculinity” emerges out of a male tradition of writings on degeneracy, sexology and self-help, maintaining that this model was also taken up by Gothic fiction. Smith claims that “Gothic stages a very similar debate about disease and ‘maleness’” as that found in “medical texts and contexts” in the late nineteenth century (5). Just as disciplines like sexology and medicine seemed to be fascinated with “the collapse of dominant gender scripts” and images of division and perversion, the “image of the unstable, divided echoed in the Gothic instabilities of the seemingly bifurcated subject suggested in Jekyll and Hyde” (6). Smith claims that Gothic fiction demonises the normative while it normalises the deviant, marking Gothic as a transgressive force. In the case of both medicine and literature, the idea that “the ideological self-evident signs of masculinity can no longer determine the male subject” comes to influence a variety of writings at the fin-de-siècle (Andrew Smith 34). In much the same way, mental sciences like neurology, psychology, mental physiology and the burgeoning discipline of psychoanalysis worked to develop a model of  23  consciousness and identity predicated upon inner division and conflicting states of being so that Gothic and science seem to go hand-in-hand. In the late nineteenth century, both naturally occurring and artificially produced modifications in personality (by suggestion under hypnosis) were popular items in psychological research as well as in Gothic literature. Well known psychologists like Pierre Janet, Alfred Binet and Charles Fere were researching somnambulism and suggestion in France; F.W.H. Myers and William Crookes of the London Society for Psychical Research and psychologist Henry Maudsley were researching divided and multiplex consciousness in England; and Morton Prince and Borris Sidis were exploring the cases of multiple personality in The United States. Maudsely, for example, argued that the mind was divided into antagonistic halves in the very physical make-up of the brain, putting forth a view of the human as inherently divided. Similarly, Charles Darwin presented his hypothesis that humans retained some of the ferocity of the emotions found in their animal progenitors, which suggested a human subject torn between its animal and civilised nature, unpredictable in its variability. The discourse of hypnotic suggestibility, although in no way unified, presented a view of the subject as invadable by outside forces. This anxiety was reflected in much fin-de-siècle Gothic literature, such as George Du Maurier’s Trilby (1894) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Parasite” (1894), in which Professor Austin Gilroy is enslaved by the mesmerising powers of Miss Penclosa and forced to perform humiliating and dangerous acts against his will, marking him as feminised and degenerate. The idea that a thought could be planted in a subject’s mind in order to alter the subject’s behaviour was made popular by Scottish surgeon James Braid, whose theory of hypnotism was largely  24  predicated upon this idea of “suggestion,” or what he called the placement of “dominant ideas.” Braid wrote, By our various modes of suggestion, through influencing the mind by audible language, spoken within the hearing of the patient, or by definite physical impressions, we fix certain ideas, strongly and involuntarily in the mind of the patient, which thereby act as stimulants, or as sedatives, according to the purport of the expectant ideas, and the direction of the current of thought in the mind of the patient, either drawing it to, or withdrawing it from, particular organs or functions. (Neurypnology 8) Braid’s theory of “neurohypnology” or “nervous sleep,” which will be discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, was based on the theory of animal magnetism, developed by Franz Anton Mesmer towards the end of the eighteenth century. While dissimilar in many ways, both theories held that under the right conditions, it was possible for an individual to become entranced and to enter into a state of somnambulism, where the subject was able to speak and act as though they were awake. After briefly tracing the emergence of a divided model of consciousness in the mental sciences, I will demonstrate how a similar model emerges in Gothic fiction. The somnambulistic states found in both animal magnetism and hypnotism revealed a realm of mental activity not available to the conscious mind and previously unexamined by science. In attempting to use animal magnetism to treat an ill peasant, Victor Race, the marquis de Puységur, one of Mesmer’s most ardent disciples, noticed a remarkable alteration in personality while Victor was in this state: “When he is in a magnetized state, he  25  is no longer a naive peasant who can barely speak a sentence. He is someone whom I do not know how to name” (qtd. in Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 39). In addition to the appearance of what would be termed a “secondary self” lying dormant in the subject, experiments with animal magnetism (later termed mesmerism in the public vernacular) and hypnotism also revealed that the entranced subject was highly susceptible to outside control, such as the implantation of ideas identified by Braid in his theory of suggestion. Several decades prior to Braid, Puységur had noted that there seems to be a direct connection between the nervous systems of the magnetiser and the magnetised subject, which he labelled ‘rapport.’ Puységur believed this fusion between magnetised and magnetiser to be quite literal, explaining that the magnetiser could cause the magnetised to perform specific actions by a simple act of will, making the magnetised functionally inseparable from the magnetiser (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 41). In his sessions with Victor, Puységur claimed, “I do not need to speak to him. I think in his presence, and he hears me and answers me. When someone comes into the room, he sees them if I want him to; he speaks to them, saying things that I want him to say, not always what I dictate to him, but whatever truth demands. When he wants to say more than I believe prudent for the listener, I stop his ideas, his sentences in the middle of a word and totally change his thought” (Mémoires pour server 35-36). While Mesmer’s theories were largely dismissed by the medical and scientific communities in Western Europe, Braid’s theories were embraced by many of the leading minds in England and France, such as famed neurologist Jean Martin Charcot, as well as used for therapeutic purposes by psychologists like Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud in the early stages of psychoanalysis.  26  The view of consciousness as penetrable by the thoughts of another developed in Mesmer’s and Braid’s theories produced an image of the mind as permeable and passive, contradicting the Enlightened view of the subject as unified and subjectivity as fixed and continuous. In contrast to the model proposed by Descartes and developed throughout the eighteenth century, the subject that emerges during the fin-de-siècle was internally divided, animalistic and emotional, permeable and malleable – traits which are most often culturally coded as feminine. The emphasis that Smiles places on the “power of will” (229) and the “freedom of will” (231) as being central to the character of man is matched in discussions on the nature of susceptibility to dissociation. In his first paper on hypnosis, delivered to the Académie des Sciences in February 1882, famed neurologist J.M. Charcot presented his view that hypnotism was an artificially produced form of hysteria, “such as that frequently presented by women” (403). Charcot’s belief that sensitivity to trance was a feminine condition was not one that was new; in the Franklin Commission’s public report on animal magnetism for the king of France (1786), one member – Jean Sylvain Bailly – wrote that men exercise “natural empire” over women, which is demonstrated by the fact that it is “always men who magnetize women,” effectively establishing the gender dynamics of the magnetic relationship (qtd. in Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 92). Therefore, to be a dissociative subject – that is, to be a subject susceptible to hypnotism, hysteria or magnetism – was to be, if only symbolically, a feminine subject. Thus when Robert Holt in Richard Marsh’s Gothic novel, The Beetle (1897), exclaims that to be mesmerised is to be ‘unmanned’ (49) and rendered “impoten[t]” (62), he is pointing to a system of thought, already one hundred years in existence, which characterises susceptibility to trance as a  27  sign of mental and moral weakness – one characteristic of degenerates, women and “primitives.” As studies in dissociative phenomena, such as those related to animal magnetism and hypnotism, revealed the mind to be divisible into incongruent parts and susceptible to outside control, many became fearful that the complete extinction of individual will was a distinct possibility. Pamela Thurschwell argues that at the fin-de-siècle there was an anxious sense that “someone or something might get inside one’s mind and control one’s actions” (37). Within medical and scientific circles, dissociation was studied for what the phenomena could reveal about “the vicissitudes of conscious and subconscious thought” (Thurschwell 37). But dissociation was also fascinating to the general public as travelling mesmerists and hypnotists put on spectacular shows, highlighting the entranced subject’s insensitivity to pain and absolute obedience to the will of the mesmerist. Indeed, critics like Thurschwell, Roger Luckhurst and Andrew Smith have demonstrated how narratives of dissociative phenomena come to be figured as Gothic narratives in a number of ways. As mentioned, the hypnotising villain became a staple in fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction. This figure is seen in some of the most popular fiction of the era, including George Du Maurier’s Trilby (1894), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897), where, as will be discussed in Chapter 3, the hypnotising villain has the power to invade and control the minds and bodies of its entranced victims. An abhorrent, shape-shifting Egyptian14 highpriestess, the Beetle uses her power to overmaster the majority of British citizens with 14  As Julian Wolrey notes in his edition of Marsh’s text, English involvement in Egypt has a long and complex history. For the Victorians, “Egypt was a source of constant cultural fascination,” representing ancient civilizations (and their decline and ruination), occult scientific knowledge, mythology and mysticism (Wolfreys 340).  28  whom she comes into contact. This control is figured as a dangerous virility in these texts, dangerous because it is possessed by racialised, non-European and, paradoxically, effeminate ‘Others.’ Similarly, Du Maurier’s Trilby tells the tale of an evil mesmerist, a “sinister” Jew (11) named Svengali who comes from “the mysterious East! The poisonous East – birthplace and home of an ill wind that blows nobody good” (282). He possesses a mesmerising power so great that he is able to effectively control the good-hearted Trilby even after his death. It is disturbing enough, as the Laird points out, that Svengali could “get you into [his] power, and just make you do any blessed thing [he pleased] – lie, murder, steal – anything!” (52); what makes Svengali’s power all the more repugnant is that he, a foreign “Jew,” uses this power against Trilby, who, although not wholly of English blood, comes to grow “more English every day” due to the influence of her British counterparts, a transformation Du Maurier’s narrator tells us “was a good thing” (64). The practice of mesmerism encouraged reflections about the basis of race inequalities and the power of one nation to bend another to its will. In the eyes of many Victorians colonial subjects were appropriate subjects for mesmerism as they were perceived as being “naturally subject to the exercise of another’s power” (Winter 211). Some associated the vulnerability of the mesmeric subject with colonial subservience and linked the capacity to fall “under the influence” of mesmerism to social or cultural primitiveness. For example, physician James Esdaile believed there was a link between colonial subservience and susceptibility to trance based on his practice of mesmerism in India. Esdaile argued that a determining factor in a subject’s responsiveness to trance was related to their “closeness to” or “distance from” the natural order so that people who succumb most easily to mesmeric influence are closer  29  to a “state of nature” and thus less civilised (Winter, Mesmerized 204). Therefore, when an English subject like Trilby fell under the influence of the Jewish Svengali, it suggested that Englishmen and Englishwomen were not so distant from the “primitive” or “savage” as they believed while at the same time reinforcing the “danger” of the foreign Other. 1.2 Gothic and Mental Science: The Moebius Strip When developments in science throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth century began to reveal – or even discursively produce – the shadowy recesses and potential “dark” sides of the human psyche, explorations of human psychology became popular in Gothic fiction. During the 1790s and early nineteenth century, Gothic novels such as Anne Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796) became exceptionally popular with the reading public. Characters in these texts constantly attempt to negotiate not only their own impulses and emotions but also the line between fantasy and reality. Radcliffe’s Udolpho, for example, tells the tale of Emily St. Aubert, an orphaned young woman who must go with her guardian, an estranged aunt, to the strange castle of her aunt’s new husband, Signor Montoni. Set in 1584 in southern France and northern Italy, the novel focuses on Emily's flight from a series of perceived dangers: a forced marriage to an Italian nobleman, imprisonment in Montoni’s castle, the theft of her estates, and various supernatural terrors, which are eventually revealed to be the products of her imagination. As David Punter notes, the plot of Udopho is in many ways simple and straightforward. The strengths of Udopho lie in areas such as “character psychology, symbolic intensification, and an extraordinary use of suspense and doubt which constantly blurs the boundaries of reality and fantasy” (Punter, Literature of Terror 59). It is Punter’s  30  final point about Udolpho that I wish to emphasise in moving towards an understanding of Gothic more generally. The notion of a constant “blur[ring] of boundaries” is perhaps one of Gothic’s most salient features. But there’s more to Gothic than the troubling of categories; Gothic’s power lies in its ability to demonstrate the ways in which such categories are always already flawed or troubled. According to Chris Baldick the term "Gothic" has become firmly established as the name for “one sinister corner of the modern Western imagination” (xi), denoting at times a style of architecture, a genre of popular fiction, and/or a mode of discourse. Historically, Gothic was a pejorative term meaning barbarous or uncouth as it pointed to the Germanic tribe of the Goths, best known for their part in the decline of the Roman Empire, or, as Markman Ellis puts it, their destruction of classical Roman civilisation, which “plunged the civilised world into centuries of ignorance and darkness” (22). As it came into popular use in the eighteenth-century, “Gothic” stood for the unenlightened and the superstitious, “the old-fashioned as opposed to the modern; the barbaric as opposed to the civilised; crudity as opposed to elegance” (Punter, Literature of Terror 5). Thus, the name Gothic was taken and used “to prop up one side of that set of cultural oppositions by which the Renaissance and its heirs defined and claimed possession of European civilization: Northern versus Southern, Gothic versus Graeco-Roman, Dark Ages versus the Age of Enlightenment, medieval versus modern, barbarity versus civility, superstition versus Reason” (Baldick xii). In the eighteenth century, a new found interest in medieval architecture and ancient romance resulted in what critics have come to identify as the first Gothic novel – Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764). Walpole labels his novella a “Gothic Story” and describes it as an "attempt  31  to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern" (9). In many ways Walpole's novel established the popular formula for the Gothic romance of the period: events take place in a gloomy medieval castle or Abbey, a heroine is trapped or pursued by a mysterious villain, and much of the action occurs at night, involving supernatural events, dreams, prophecies, or psychological disturbances. Located in the remote past, in isolated locations and amidst ancient ruins, the traditional Gothic of writers like Mathew Lewis, Anne Radcliffe, and Clara Reeve focused on “the archaic, the pagan, that which was prior to, or was opposed to, or resisted the establishment of civilised values and a well-regulated society” (Punter, Literature of Terror 5). But more to the point, Gothic is often closely identified with the ideas of the Enlightenment and thought to be this discourse’s dark “other.” As Michel Foucault explains it in “The Eye of Power,” A fear haunted the latter half of the eighteenth century: the fear of darkened spaces, of the pall of gloom which prevents full visibility of things, men and truths. It sought to break up the patches of darkness that blocked the light, eliminate the shadowy areas of society, demolish the unlit chambers where arbitrary political acts, monarchical caprice, religious superstitions, tyrannical and priestly plots, epidemics and the illusions of ignorance were fomented ... the landscapes of Ann Radcliffe’s novels are composed of mountains and forests, caves, ruined castles and terrifying dark and silent convents... these imaginary spaces are like the negative of the transparency and visibility which it is aimed to establish. (153-154)  32  For Foucault, the Gothic novel presented the negation of the Enlightenment ideals of transparency and visibility. This view of Gothic as the dark half of the Enlightenment is one that has been popular with Gothic scholars. Fred Botting, for example, reads Gothic almost in Jungian terms as a “shadow” to “the progress of modernity,” presenting counternarratives that display “the underside of enlightenment and humanist values” (2). For Botting, Gothic condenses the many perceived threats to these values, threats that are associated with supernatural forces, imaginative excesses and delusions, religious and human evil, social transgression, mental disintegration and spiritual corruption. Richard Devetak makes a similar claim when he states: “The Age of Reason sought to banish monsters born of myth, superstition and religion. Rather than disappearing, however, the monsters simply reappeared elsewhere; they fled from the Enlightenment's illuminated spaces into the dark shadows it cast” (623). Gothic has come to be identified with these “dark shadows.” However, if Gothic is representative of the dark half of the binaries modern Western culture uses to define itself, the “shadow” to Enlightenment values such as reason, it does not positively or obediently stay on its side of the divide. In fact, traits like hybridity, mutability, excess and transgression – those qualities which draw attention to boundaries and limits in order to disrupt demarcations – have come to be identified as Gothic’s persistent features. In her text Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic, Anne Williams suggests that Gothic is “crucially concerned with exploring the ‘rules’ of patriarchy” (35) as it “expresses disruptions in the Law of the Father .... expos[ing] its fissures” (175). Here, Williams is evoking Lacan’s understanding of the development of the subject upon its  33  entrance into the social order, an order predicated upon the acquisition of language and an acceptance of the rules and orders of patriarchy. As Williams understands it, the “Law of the Father” is an elaborate cultural system based on the literal and figurative process by which society organises itself, or “‘draws the line,’ declaring this ‘legitimate,’ that not; this ‘proper,’ that not; this ‘sane,’ that not, rules and divisions that structure all dimensions of human life” (12). Gothic transgresses these boundaries, or as Christine Berthin puts it, Gothic “explode[s]...limits in order to include the hidden and the hinted at” (2). While I would suggest that Gothic often acts in more subtle ways, contaminating categories rather than exploding them, Berthin’s comment indicates the power of Gothic to undermine certainties and destabilise taxonomies. It must be emphasised that Gothic does not work to unsettle stable categories and a secure reality; rather, it draws attention to ways that categories are always already flawed. The Victorian era has long been noted for the classificatory and taxonomical impulses of its citizens. Kelly Hurley sees the latter half of the nineteenth century as a period of “accelerated taxonomical activity,” characterised by attempts to classify and rank “the races of man, the natural world, the types and variations of human sexuality, the gradations of insanity and other pathologies” (27). Paradoxically, the effect of these increased attempts at classification and order is to produce disorder: “a proliferation of competing paradigms, a multiplication of mental and sexual pathologies behind which the ‘normal subject’ is occluded” (27). In her discussion, Hurley evokes Jacques Derrida’s claim from “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” that any semiotic system, at any historical moment, is an arbitrary one (25). Hurley characterises the fin-de-siècle as a period  34  of ruptures and classificatory breakdown, and fin-de-siècle Gothic as the “witness” to these ruptures (28). Gothic, however, does more than “witness” moments of rupture and classificatory breakdown; it is an active and rather transgressive force. Indeed, Gothic itself often intermingles with other genres and discourses, turning up in a variety of contexts and settings. As scholars like Fred Botting suggest, Gothic exists primarily in a state of flux. As such, Gothic has been theorised as “an instrumental genre, reemerging cyclically, at periods of cultural stress, to negotiate the anxieties that accompany social and epistemological transformations and crises” (Hurley 4-5), for as Terry Eagleton argues, a significant development in literary form may evolve out of “a collective psychological demand” as changes in literature “result from significant changes in ideology. They embody new ways of perceiving social reality” (23). The anxieties presented in the Gothic vary “according to diverse changes: political revolution, industrialism, urbanisation, shifts in sexual and domestic organisation, and scientific discovery” (Botting 3). As Williams suggests, Gothic offers writers a discourse for expressing these anxieties. Uncertainties about the nature of power and law, concerns with “the dynamics of the family, the limits of rationality and passion, the definition of statehood and citizenship, the cultural effects of technology,” and the navigation of sexuality and desires dominate Gothic fiction from Horace Walpole to Stephen King (Bruhm 259). Based on the above comments, it becomes clear that we are dealing with something more complex than a ‘genre’ when we are dealing with Gothic, although there are problems here with definition. Williams perhaps says it best when she claims that Gothic in literature is “broader than genre, deeper than plot, and wider than a single tradition” (241). Robert  35  Miles echoes this claim when he states that Gothic is neither a single nor a singular genre; it represents an “area of concern,” which is complex and multifarious in nature (4). Although the term “Gothic” turns up quite frequently in both scholarly and popular discourse, definitions of “Gothic” have become more and more difficult to produce, and what constitutes “Gothic” has become open to much critical debate. Recently, critics have asked if Gothic is a genre or a mode. If it is a genre, how do we interpret the fact that even the group of definitive texts commonly referred to as the “first wave Gothic” of the late eighteenth century only share some common features?15 How do we account for the many changes “Gothic” has undergone since its inception over two hundred years ago? Or, how do we interpret the fact that certain stock “Gothic” features, such as a fascination with transgression and haunting, appear in a variety of contexts, both literary and scientific? As Williams puts it: The literary critic may regard “Gothic” as anything from an agglomeration of cheap tricks to a compelling problem of “literary history,” the “novel,” “romance,” “genre,” “mode,” or “tradition.” Yet even referring to “the” Gothic and choosing – or not – to capitalize the word opens some doors and assures that others will remain not only closed but invisible. A thoughtful analysis of “Gothic” should challenge the kind of literary history that organizes, delineates, and defines: a literary history that also confines us within some inherited literary concepts, particularly ideas about genre, that can be as confusing as Udolpho’s amazing structures. (12-3)  15  Alexandria Warwick asks a similar question in “Feeling Gothicky.” Gothic Studies 9.1: 5-15.  36  Accordingly, a “definition” of “Gothic” outlines “a large, irregularly shaped figure” (Williams 23) in line with Mary Shelley’s “monstrous progeny.” It is more than simply a genre, or a mode or a tradition, and it goes beyond a standard set of conventions related to haunted castles, hidden chambers and depraved villains.16 In attempting to define “Gothic,” it becomes clear that the usual terminology for discussions of literature are somewhat inadequate, “for ‘Gothic’ is a ‘something’ that goes beyond the merely literary” (Williams 23). My project relies upon viewing Gothic as both a genre and a mode, as a dynamic, hybrid “something” circulating throughout literature as well as society from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, as a particular means of resisting and/or revealing the ideological uncertainties of patriarchal culture. Whereas genre often specifies the content of a story, a mode is a way or manner of telling a story. Alexandra Warwick in “Feeling Gothicky” suggests that “The worst kind of criticism … has a tendency to treat [Gothic] as though it were a genre, looking for the features that might define it, and producing a rather mechanical conclusion: here is an example of the uncanny, therefore an example of the Gothic” (6). Increasingly, critics have begun to view Gothic in this way. Robert Mighall, for example, agrees that Gothic is a “‘mode’ rather than a genre” (xix), and Julian Wolfreys claims that, “the Gothic is hardly a genre at all” since it is “not containable to one period,” because of its characteristic “internal heterogeneity” and endless mutations (“Victorian Gothic” 66). Similarly, Warwick argues that “Gothic is a mode rather than a genre, that it is a loose tradition and even that its defining characteristics are 16  In her text The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (1986) Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick includes such elements as central to Gothic, which she characterizes as a genre. In attempting to outline the features of Gothic fiction, she includes: “The priesthood and monastic institutions; sleeplike and deathlike states; subterranean spaces and live burial . . . unnatural echoes or silences, unintelligible writings, and the unspeakable; garrulous retainers; the poisonous effects of guilt and shame” (9).  37  its mobility and continued capacity for reinvention” (6). Throughout the nineteenth century, as Julian Wolfreys claims, Gothic is to be found anywhere and everywhere, but never in the same form twice, suggesting that Gothic is recognised through its effects and affects. Gothic “returns” through various manifestations, “in comic discourse, in discourses of history and Christian belief, in the very possibility of the novel in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in countless other discourses and historical, material traces as well” (Victorian Hauntings 11). Thus, we might claim, as Wolfreys does, that nineteenth century culture is permeated by Gothic or is Gothically inflected.17 Gothic writings of the fin-de-siècle focussed on the urban present, the condition of modern life, the other within the self, and the primitive within the civilised. Hurley characterises fin-de-siècle Gothic as being centrally concerned with the horrific re-making of the human subject, placing it “within a general anxiety about the nature of human identity permeating late-Victorian and Edwardian culture, an anxiety generated by scientific discourses, biological and sociomedical, which served to dismantle conventionally notions of ‘the human’” (5). Evolutionism, criminal anthropology, degeneration theory, sexology and studies of mind all articulated new models of the human as discontinuous in identity, which made Gothic a likely fit for literary explorations of these new views of the human condition. Hurley claims that while certain broad narrative and thematic continuities link this form to the late eighteenth-century and Romantic Gothic novel, [The] fin-de-siècle Gothic rematerializes as a genre in many ways unrecognizable, transfigured, bespeaking an altered sensibility that resonates more closely with 17  This term comes from Jodey Castricano’s Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing (2001).  38  contemporary horrific representations than those generated at the far edge of the Enlightenment. More graphic than before, soliciting a more visceral readerly response than before, the fin-de-siècle Gothic manifests a new set of generic strategies...which function maximally to enact the defamiliarization and violent reconstitution of the human subject. (4) Hurley maintains that although fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction may appear as purely reactive, emerging as a response to the general malaise occasioned by the sciences, the relationship between scientific and Gothic discourses is far more complex. As scholars of the fin-desiècle have increasingly argued, the “making” and “shaping” of examples of deviancy in a number of discursive practices borrow the language of Gothic. For example, Andrew Smith maintains that medical discourse “slips into a more properly Gothic discourse” when it considers “the horrors” of physical deformity, as is the case with discussions of Joseph Merrick, better known as “The Elephant Man” (45). Smith identifies the frequency with which words like “beast” and “thing” appeared in discussions of Merrick, cited by one physician as a “degraded or perverted version of a human being” (qtd. in Andrew Smith 45). For Smith, such descriptions underscore “the limits of medical language” to account for deformity in strictly medical terms (45). Both Hurley and Smith discuss what they view as either a “Gothicisation” (Andrew Smith 7) or inherent “gothicity” (Hurley 5) of a variety of scientific and social discourses at the end of the nineteenth century. For Hurley, degeneration, Pre-Freudian modelings of the unconscious, Darwinism and sexology revealed a human subject “fractured by discontinuity and profoundly alienated from itself,” the implications of which were perceived as disastrous and traumatic – “one might say  39  ‘gothic’”- by a majority of the population (Hurley 6), as evidenced by Adam Sedgwick’s response to Darwin’s On the Origins of Species. The social anxiety attached to the remodeling of human identity was perhaps especially pronounced in discussions pertaining to the state of Victorian manhood and its role in the future of the English nation. As Smith’s study makes clear, accounts of degeneracy were largely contingent upon the idea that a link existed between masculinity and nation, and the debate over the precise nature of this link “takes on a strange Gothic colouring” in the late Victorian period (33). It is in Gothic fiction that “this debate about a precarious sense of masculine authority” is taken up, revealing that “norms have become eroded and consequently what is meant by masculinity is open to negotiation” (Andrew Smith 34, 36). In the case of sexology, a discipline which sought to understand the relationship between sex and gender as well as that between biology and society, the nature of male desire became the topic of much scrutiny. Linda Dryden claims that “fear of atavism was closely linked to sexuality: physical appetites, unchecked by moral consciousness, were seen as evidence of a primitive self” (9). The ability to check physical appetites was challenged by the belief that male desire could not be easily contained. One leader in sexology, Havelock Ellis, claimed that one of the central problems in defining male desire is its strange mobility. As Ellis argues in Man and Woman (1894), the locus of female desire was in procreation, but “in men the sexual instinct is a restless source of energy which overflows into all sorts of channels” (Qtd. in Andrew Smith 29). This meant that even adherence to dominant masculine scripts provided no guarantee of heterosexuality. In his pivotal text The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault writes that “since sexuality was a  40  medical and medicalizable object, one had to try and detect it—as a lesion, a dysfunction, or a symptom—in the depths of the organism, or on the surface of the skin, or among all the signs of behaviour” (44). Here, as well in his other works, Foucault attempts to trace the ways in which “a human being turns him—or herself into a subject,” in this particular instance through asking how and why it is that “men have learned to recognize themselves as subjects of ‘sexuality’” (Qtd. in Townshend 290); Foucault argues that as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed an explosion of discourses on sex, dealing with topics such as “the sensualised body of modesty, manias, reveries, ‘hysteria’” (Miles 7), individual identity became increasingly tied to sexual identity. For middle-class British male subjects in the nineteenth century, this sexual identity was also closely tied to national identity. In the works of Smiles, Nordau, and Edwin Lankester, the discussion of masculinity has clear links to the idea of the nation so that the threat of biological regression suggests the potential for national decline. This “language of pathologisation” also becomes articulated through contemporaneous Gothic literature (Andrew Smith 40). This is an important link “because it reveals how certain scientific discourses became Gothicised” (Andrew Smith 40-41). While it is possible to discern Gothic inflections in a variety of genres and discourses in the late nineteenth century, the focus of this study is on the particular fascination with the hidden capacities of the human psyche shared by studies of mind and Gothic fiction in the fin-desiècle. As critics like Roger Luckhurst have demonstrated, “the fin-de-siècle Gothic was fascinated by forms of psychic splitting, trance states, and telepathic intimacies” and “adopted the language of the psychical researcher” (The Invention of Telepathy 182).  41  Images of the hypnotising or mesmerising villain, the hapless automaton thief, and the dissociative killer abound in popular Gothic texts of the late nineteenth century, such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Parasite” (1894). However, these were not only popular tropes for nineteenth-century writers; these were also topics of psychical and medical research. In what can be identified as an active exchange, just as Gothic texts adopted the language of the psychical researcher in order to explore extraordinary psychic states, psychical researchers, psychologists, and neurologists relied upon Gothic language and conventions to characterise the perceived threats associated with dissociative states. Studies of dissociation uncannily mirror Gothic fiction in their presentation of a human subject that is fragmented, alien to itself and possessed by strange forces. In their 1892 book on animal magnetism, renowned psychologists Alfred Binet and Charles Fere characterise the capacity for dissociation as being located in the “shadow” of “the active...forms of the intelligence” (304-5), and describe psychic splitting as the experience of haunting or possession: “[the subject is], so to speak, possessed, both by day in the waking state, and at night during their dreams” (emphasis original, 221). In a similar way Henry Maudsley describes the “dissolution of self” that occurs in double consciousness in terms of “death,” an “indescribable feeling of impending horror” and an “unspeakable anguish” (196). Such descriptions of dissociation and psychic splitting utilise Gothic conventions like haunting, possession, darkness and the unspeakable in order to emphasise the unsettling anxiety related to the breakdown of a unified and singular subject. If to be “many” and “unlimited”  42  is to be “evil,” as the Pythagorean paradigm of reality 18 suggests, then it is only fitting that the description of this state of being should be coded in Gothic terms. This image of a possessed, fractured and disrupted subject in the discourse of dissociation is analogous to the subject of Gothic fiction, marking the dissociative subject and Gothic subject as highly indistinguishable. A Gothic subject is frequently a fragmented subject, one that is possessed, dispossessed, shattered, multiple and uncontrollable. According to Fred Botting, Gothic subjects are: [A]lienated, divided from themselves, no longer in control of those passions, desires, and fantasies, that had been policed and partially expunged in the eighteenth century. Individuals were divided products of both reason and desire, subjects of obsession, narcissism and self-gratification as much as reasonable, responsible codes of behaviour. Nature, wild and untameable, was as much within as without. Excess emanated from within, from hidden, pathological motivations that rationality was powerless to control. (12) Because the narratives of Gothic fiction can be seen as case studies “which describe deviance, rebellion, and the abnormal,” they bear a resemblance to the psychopathologist’s accounts of dissociated patients, which are also “fragmented, out of chronological sequence, contradictory, and incoherent” (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 18). As such, Gothic paradoxically becomes a “coherent code” for the representation of fragmented subjectivity, 18  In Metaphysics Aristotle claims that the Pythagoreans viewed reality as consisting of ten pairs of opposites: male/female, limited/unlimited, odd/even, one/many, right/left, square/oblong, at rest/moving, straight/curved, light/darkness, good/evil. The items on the left of the line are commonly referred to as “The line of evil,” which stands in opposition to the items on the right, or “The line of good.” See Anne Williams’ Art of Darkness (1995) for a more detailed discussion of how this model comes to inform Gothic.  43  for the representation of the subject “in a state of deracination, of the self finding itself dispossessed in its own house, in a condition of rupture, disjunction, fragmentation” (Miles 3). For Robert Miles, Gothic writing should be regarded as a series of contemporaneously understood forms, devices, codes, and figurations for illuminating the “fragmented subject.” In this way, Gothic can be viewed as a “discursive site, a ‘carnivalesque’ mode for representations of the fragmented subject” (Miles 4). Indeed, Kelly Hurley makes a similar claim when she credits Gothic with the “invention” of a systematic discourse of the irrational (6). On account of their shared concerns and similar vocabulary, studies of mind have often gone hand-in-hand with discussions of Gothic.19 In the early stages of critical interest in Gothic, psychoanalysis was used to lend respectability to discussions of a genre largely dismissed as “low culture,” not suitable for serious academic inquiry (Hogle 29). 20 Robert Miles claims that because Gothic writing is seen as “disjunctive,” fragmentary, inchoate, “theory is required to sound the Gothic’s deep structure in order to render the surface froth comprehensible” (1). Psychoanalysis offers an ideal tool for rendering the Gothic comprehensible as the elements, structures and themes that constitute the fantasy of Gothic speak to the desires and fears of both authors and readers. As Michelle Massé relates, the “flat characters” of Gothic fiction can be understood as mythic archetypes, and 19  See Michelle Massé “Psychoanalysis and the Gothic” in A Companion to the Gothic. Ed. David Punter. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. 229-241, or Maggie Kilgour The Rise of the Gothic Novel (London, Routledge, 1995). Other critics, like Jodey Castricano in Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing (Montreal & Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), have also indicated the affinities between Gothic and philosophy. Castricano notes the Gothic tropes of spectrality and haunting in the work of Derrida, using “cryptomimesis” as a term to describe the convergence of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and certain "Gothic" stylistic, formal, and thematic motifs in Derrida's work. 20 See for example Maurice Richardson “The Psychoanalysis of Ghost Stories” The Twentieth Century 166 (1959): 419-31, or Leslie Fielder’s Love and Death in the American Novel.  44  the rich symbolic landscapes of the narratives can be understood as parallels to the condensation and displacement found in dreams, day-dreams and neurotic symptoms used by subjects “to construct systems that satisfy basic desires while still letting us function adequately in the ‘real’ world” (229). Maggie Kilgour contends that “With its theory of an underlying reality, psychoanalysis helped give the gothic a new ‘profundity’, by seeing it as the revelation of the private life of either the individual or his culture that had been buried as habit, the conscious will, and forces of individual and social repression” (220). In fact, as Anne Williams claims by the mid-twentieth century, “the idea that the Gothic novelists had ‘discovered the unconscious’ had become nearly a critical commonplace” (241). Williams suggests that it now takes a considerable conscious effort for critics to avoid psychoanalytic insights in reading Gothic fiction, “so seemingly ‘Freudian’ for us are the familial conflicts, the uncanny spaces, the dark, secret dungeons that these novels explore” (242). Thus, psychoanalysis has played an essential role in the development of the field of Gothic Studies and in furthering our understanding of Gothic’s exploration of the unconscious elements of the subject; yet, as will be seen, Gothic has always already haunted psychoanalysis, and by extension, mental science. Recently, the use of psychoanalysis as a critical tool for ‘making sense’ of the content of Gothic fiction has come to be challenged and questioned by a number of critics. On the one hand, this is the desire to move conversations away from explorations of the psyche to focus on other themes germane to Gothic, themes centered on issues such as history, class and race. For example, Robert Mighall claims that Gothic’s principle defining structure is “its attitude to the past and its unwelcome legacies” (Geography xiv). On the  45  other hand, this is the increasing realisation, made apparent by the work of scholars like Anne Williams, Jodey Castricano and Dale Townshend, that the relationship between Gothic and psychoanalysis is far more complex and reciprocal than previously acknowledged. Undoubtedly, there are strange affinities between psychoanalysis and Gothic, to such an extent that William’s claim that the “true heir of Walpole and Radcliff, the most profoundly Gothic creator of narrative in our century, is Sigmund Freud” (240) seems provocatively true. Many of Freud’s writings explore subjects that possess a Gothic flair: the cases of the “Wolf Man” and the “Rat Man,” studies on “Dreams and Telepathy” and, of course, the discussion of “The Uncanny,” which features a reading of E.T.A. Hoffman’s Gothic tale, “The Sandman.” Collectively, Williams suggests, the works of Freud constitute a “Gothic story”: “The Mysteries of Enlightenment” (240). Williams argues that Freud and Gothic are inextricably linked and, furthermore, that “this circularity, this short-circuiting, this teasing, almost uncanny affinity between Freud and Gothic, suggests that perhaps we have it backwards. Instead of using Freud to read Gothic, we should use Gothic to read Freud” (242-3). Williams’ assertion that psychoanalysis is somehow inherently “Gothic” or that Gothic offers us a way into psychoanalysis provides a starting point for an exploration of mental science’s relation to literature, in particular the shared themes, subjects and language of late-nineteenth-century studies of mind and fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction. Yet, this is not a case of simply using psychoanalysis to read Gothic or the inverted model of using Gothic to read psychoanalysis suggested by Williams. If psychoanalysis is indeed ‘Gothic,’ then to use “Gothic to read Freud” may result in what Robert Young names a critical tautology. Thus, the challenge is how to account for the “uncanny affinity” between  46  Gothic fiction and the scientific study of the psyche without occluding or displacing one genre by or with the other. William Patrick Day is perhaps one of the first critics to challenge the use of psychoanalysis in readings of Gothic as he argues the two are in fact corresponding discourses. He claims that “the Gothic is not a crude anticipation of Freudianism, nor its unacknowledged father. Rather, the two are cousins. ... The Gothic arises out of the immediate needs of the reading public to ... articulate and define the turbulence of their psychic existence. We may see Freud as the intellectual counterpart of this process” (179). Day’s claim that psychoanalysis and Gothic are “cousins” indicates that their relationship is not one of cause and effect but rather one of mutual descent. In much the same way, Michelle Massé suggests that Gothic and psychoanalysis are “cognate historical strands made up of the same human hopes and anxieties and then woven into particular patterns by the movements of socio-cultural change” (231). While “Gothic” and “psychoanalysis” might be “cousins” or “cognate strands,” these two strands often overlap and intermingle in a number of interesting ways, such as in Freud’s reading of Hoffman in his essay “The Uncanny” (1919) or American psychologist Morton Prince’s reference to Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in his Dissociation of a Personality (1905). Because of “this circularity, this short-circuiting, this teasing” relationship between Gothic and psychoanalysis, or Gothic and mental sciences more generally, the connection between psychoanalysis and Gothic points to Slavoj Žižek’s model of the Moebius band: what is seemingly separate is in fact irrevocably joined. In his discussion of the film Psycho, for example, Žižek writes that the relationship between the two worlds (reality and fantasy or horror) presented in the film  47  “eludes the simple oppositions of surface and depth, reality and fantasy, and so on—the only topology that suits it is that of the two surfaces of a Moebius band: if we progress far enough on one surface, all of a sudden we find ourselves on its reverse” (72). In the image of the Moebius band, what seemingly has two sides in fact only has one, albeit mysteriously continuous. As Žižek indicates, at one point the two sides of the band can be clearly distinguished, but as we move across the strip as a whole, the two sides are experienced as being continuous. In the experience of this “temporal modality” (72), we enter into “the abyss” (72), or what Žižek identifies as the parallax gap (The Parallax View 2006): the space where distinctions collapse and boundaries are revealed to be arbitrary and illusory, only tenuously maintained. I suggest that Žižek’s model of the Moebius band best articulates the relationship between Gothic and mental sciences, like psychology and psychoanalysis, as it points to the vertiginous circularity identified by Gothic scholars like Williams and Jodey Castricano.21 If we begin to explore the tropes of psychic splitting and mental disintegration in Gothic fiction, we will inevitably end up immersed in the contemporaneous theories of mental scientists, for, as Anne Stiles notes, writers were “clearly...paying very close attention” to these ideas (2). In much the same way, any foray into the texts of the mental scientists will illuminate the ways in which Gothic tropes like haunting and transgression come to inform discussions of mental disunity. And just as the precise moment of the transition from realism to horror in Psycho is impossible to locate, the moment when psychology becomes a Gothic narrative or Gothic becomes psychology is equally indistinguishable. It is this space that this study proposes to examine, for as William James 21  In particular, see Castricano’s Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida’s Ghost Writing. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.  48  expressed in his Lowell Lectures of 1896, it is the study of the marginal that is often the most important. James argued that “the ultra-marginal zone of consciousness” – the space between waking and sleep that dissociative phenomena come to occupy – is of the utmost significance as it allows for the study of “not only...the normal condition[s of consciousness] but also of deeper sources of pathology” (Exceptional Mental States 35). This study will explore the ways in which dissociative phenomena come to be figured as “Gothic” in a number of literary, scientific, and quasi-scientific contexts during the last few decades of the nineteenth century. Just as fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction is suffused with the language of psychology, neurology and psychical research, the discourse surrounding these disciplines is equally suffused with the language, themes and conventions of Gothic. For example, topics such as multiplicity and fragmentation, psychic and moral disintegration, the unspeakable, haunting and possession, excess and transgression circulate throughout various discourses related to both mental science and Gothic fiction suggesting, to borrow a phrase from Castricano’s work in another context, that “each is inhabited, even haunted by the other” (Cryptomimesis 8). This study examines the ways in which Gothic fiction and the discourse of mental science arguably intersect and blend into one another, reflecting their subject matter, which also transgress various boundaries. A field like psychology was not viewed by all as purely scientific. As one observer in 1882 suggests, “psychology, in being that science farthest removed from the reach of experimental means and inductive method, is the science which has longest remained in the trammels of ... metaphysical thought” (Qtd. in Luckhurst, The Invention of Telepathy 49). Luckhurst points out that “The disciplinary formation of psychology fell between medicine,  49  alienism, neurology, and physiology but also extended into the moral sciences, reflecting an uncertainty as to whether psychology was an objective or subjective science” (The Invention of Telepathy 92). One branch of nineteenth-century studies of mind, psychical research, has often been dismissed as a pseudo-science as much of its concerns focused on what might be labelled the supernatural and occult, but topics such as mediumship, table-turning, and telepathy were also of interest to more respectable fields of study, like psychology. Pierre Janet, after all, founded his theory of dissociation on his observations of somnambulists and used automatic writing, a practice also common at the séance, in his treatment of hysteric patients. Representations of dissociation seem to blur the boundary between science and fantasy; hypnotism, for example, is both an occult practice and a scientific practice sanctioned by men like Charcot. Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen has suggested that hypnosis is “an enigma that simultaneously mobilizes and defies the most diverse disciplines” – whether psychology, sociology, theology, or ethnology (Qtd. in Luckhurst, The Invention of Telepathy 94). Additionally, a practice like hypnotism demonstrates the multitude of ways the borders of the subject can be transgressed, blurring distinctions between self and other, inside and outside. Because of this hybrid nature, the discourse of dissociation is predicated upon the intersections of psychological, scientific, and philosophical issues of the late nineteenth century. Just as critics like Luckhurst have assumed that an understanding of mental science and psychical research can illuminate the themes and concerns of Gothic fiction, I begin with the assumption, that the works of Gothic fiction “have something to say” (Castricano, Cryptomimesis 8) about the works of mental science. In this current project, that  50  “something” has to do with the ways in which dissociative states – those moments of psychic splitting, suggestibility to trance, and disturbances to integrated identity – come to be figured as plebeian, feminine and, therefore, degenerative and “primitive” in a number of discourses related to mental science. This study focuses on works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, George Du Maurier’s Trilby, Richard Marsh’s The Beetle and Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” in order to demonstrate that fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction posed a fundamental challenge to predominant views on the dissociative subject by implying that Englishmen were not exempt from the experience of multiplicity and psychic fragmentation, thus not as different from women, “degenerates” and “primitives” as they believed. As such, it is my contention that dissociative phenomena in Gothic and in the study of the mind come to represent a particular narrative of masculine anxiety, one that reveals the sovereignty and unity of the Western male subject to be a myth and critiques the enciphering of white masculine (Western) embodiment as a national and natural standard. Theories of Victorian manliness, articulated in the writings of social commentators like Samuel Smiles, Charles Kingsley, and William Landels, managed the distressing implications of dissociative theories by creating models of manliness based on strength of character, the impenetrability of mind and body, the power of will, and the unity of identity. Writers of Gothic fiction challenged this view through the use of dissociative tropes, which draw attention to the gaps or contradictions in models of masculinity. My focus is on the way that dissociative phenomena function in Gothic fiction and on what the representation of dissociation in men reveals about contemporary fears, insecurities and ambiguities concerning the state of Victorian manhood.  51  Gothic’s relationship to dominant nineteenth-century ideologies of human identity is complex. While Gothic fiction seemed at times to reinforce normative scripts related to gender, class, sexuality and nationality by depicting certain behaviours or characteristics as monstrous and abhorrent, Gothic served to multiply, and thus destabilise, the definitions of personal identity, the normal mind, and the unconscious. So when the illustrious politician Paul Lessingham in Marsh’s The Beetle succumbs to mesmerism and hysteria, it is not easy to dismiss him as effeminate and weak-willed without implicating his peers in the process. What science often depicts as pathology, Gothic reveals to be ontology. 22 Dissociation as a trope in Gothic fiction calls into question certain nineteenth-century views of the subject as being determined by regulatory fictions in psychology and medicine, and thus works to destabilise the notion that a healthy person has a unified mind or a hermetic consciousness. The destabilising force of Gothic is seen in relation to a number of ideologies. Cyndy Hendershot, for example, argues that a predominant trait of Gothic is that it “fragments stable identity and stable social order,” most frequently gender identity (1). Hendershot argues that through Gothic’s representation of gender, traditional heterosexual masculinity is revealed to be “a veneer that conceals multiplicity and fragmentation. The Gothic exposes the others within and without that give lie to the notion of such a category as stable masculinity” (Hendershot 1). Therefore, for Hendershot, Gothic texts frequently reveal the fragility of traditional manhood. This is certainly the case in fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction in which dissociative phenomena come to symbolically stand in for a number of challenges to the authority of the white, middle-class Western European male subject.  22  Thanks to Jodey Castricano for this insight.  52  1.3 Methodology A profound fascination with the instability and unknowability of the human psyche and the scope of human consciousness unites the literary and cultural discourses I discuss. The end of the nineteenth century witnessed a Gothic literary revival, which included the publication of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897) and Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan (1894). While my principal focus is on British fin-de-siècle Gothic literature, I also discuss what might be called Gothically inflected texts, such as George Du Maurier’s Trilby (1894) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Parasite” (1894), which blend a variety of narrative styles, including Victorian realism and Sensation. I also include scientific and quasi-scientific texts written by French, German and American neurologists, psychologists and psychical researchers, such as Pierre Janet, Alfred Binet, Charles Fere, Morton Prince, William James, Josef Breuer, and, of course, Sigmund Freud, whose psychoanalysis not only changed how Western culture viewed the human mind but also influenced literary studies in the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries. In attempting to explore Gothic fiction’s affinity with mental sciences like psychology, this study situates the work of canonical authors, such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, alongside the work of lesser known authors, such as Richard Marsh and Arthur Machen. In focussing exclusively on works by male authors, I do not intend to occlude the very important work by women writers at this time. Indeed, the works of George Eliot and Vernon Lee, for example, often engaged with the theories of mental scientists and psychical researchers and anxieties related to redefinitions of gender and nation. However, as this study aims to explore the particular masculine anxieties  53  expressed in both theories of dissociation and Gothic fiction during the fin-de-siècle, it is my contention that the works of male authors, like Stevenson and Marsh, articulate these anxieties most profoundly, demonstrating that concerns over the efficacy of dominant masculine scripts emerged from within masculinist culture. While studies like Elaine Showalter’s Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture and the Fin de Siècle (1990) and Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture (1986) examine the presence of a reactionary response in male culture to women’s increased drive for independence, this study takes as a premise, following Andrew Smith’s lead in Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity and The Gothic at the Fin-de-Siècle (2004), that much of the “crisis” in male culture was staged from within that culture rather than as a reaction to pressure from outside it. Recently, scholars like Pamela Thurschwell, Kelly Hurley, Andrew Smith, and Roger Luckhurst have also focused on late-nineteenth-century Gothic fiction in relation to Victorian science.23 These studies have been useful in demonstrating how a multidisciplinary approach, examining fiction alongside emerging theories of psychology and psychical research, offers the most valuable means of understanding the fin-de-siècle fascination with dissociative states. In much the same way as Sonu Shamdasani, Elaine Showalter contends that because there was “scant scientific documentation for most assumptions,” the language of psychiatric medicine, especially in the nineteenth century, “is as culturally determined and revealing in its metaphors as the language of fiction” (emphasis added, Female Malady 5). To collapse distinctions between “fiction” and 23  Jodey Castricano also explores this issue in her text Gothic Subjects: Literature, Film and Psychoanalysis, forthcoming 2014.  54  “nonfiction” in this way must go beyond an exploration of affinities between the subject matter and must also consider the mode of storytelling. We must keep in mind that any writing involves a “making” or “shaping” and that “It is impossible, even in writing nonfiction such as history, not to select, focus, arrange, and judge the material” (Williams 243). As will be discussed in Chapter 2 “Stevenson’s Strange Case and the Discourse of Dissociation,” Morton Prince, for example, is quite frank about the fictional devices he employs in formulating his case study of a dissociated personality such as altering the name of his patient and creating names for the patient’s personalities. He also places himself in the role of “author” when he claims the authority to pick and choose which personality lives on to be the “normal” or dominant self. Prince believed that “each secondary personality is a part only of a normal whole self” (Dissociation of a Personality 3), the “real, original or normal self, the self that was born and which [the patient] was intended by nature to be” (Dissociation of a Personality 1), and that it was his job to discover which personality this was and to extinguish all others. In rather telling “Gothic” terms, he calls this act of extinguishment “psychological murder” (Dissociation of a Personality 248). His selfprescribed task was “to determine which personality was comfortable with abnormality and which with normality, and so find the real self” (Dissociation of a Personality 245). By reading the criteria created by Prince to determine “normalcy” in light of Gothic, we can gain an understanding of the ways in which psychological “deviancy” often parallels other apparent social transgressions (like homosexuality or gender ‘confusion’). In examining the discourse of dissociation – which is complex and brings together rather diverse resources with a host of experts in different fields – alongside Gothic, I will  55  use the genealogical model of historical analysis established by Nietzsche and Foucault. As Christopher Hauke puts it, “[g]enealogy is concerned with tracing the origins and developments of a phenomenon that not only asks how it is possible but also why it is necessary” (emphasis original, 160). Nietzsche distinguishes genealogy from history by claiming that there is no linear evolution in our accepted conceptualisations; rather, notions such as “good” and “evil” have been formed in response to changing conflicts and accidental events. Hauke describes genealogy as the image of the family tree: “through the accidents of marriages, births, deaths and divorces – not to mention ‘illegitimate’ births – a line of development proceeds haphazardly and unpredictably... [in this image] the present is still the ‘result’ of the past but not in any evolutionary, linear or rational sense at all but clearly as the ‘result’ or ‘effect’ of the ups and downs of human life” (160). In his essay, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” (1971), Michel Foucault challenges history’s essentialism and its assumption of “origins” because “it is an attempt to capture the exact essence of things, their purest possibilities, and their carefully protected identities; because this search assumes the existence of immobile forms that precede the external world of accident and succession” (353). The genealogist discovers that there is no timeless and essential secret but the secret that things have no essence, “or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms” (“Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” 353). A genealogical examination of a concept, like “Gothic” or “dissociation” permits the discovery of the myriad events “through which – thanks to which, against which – they were formed” (355). According to Foucault,  56  Genealogy does not pretend to go back in time to restore an unbroken continuity that operates beyond the dispersion of oblivion; its task is not to demonstrate that the past actively exists in the present, that it continues secretly to animate the present, having imposed a predetermined form on all its vicissitudes. Genealogy does not resemble the evolution of a species and does not map the destiny of a people. On the contrary, to follow the complex course of descent is to maintain passing events in their proper dispersion; it is to identify the accidents, the minute deviations—or conversely, the complete reversals – the errors, the false appraisals, and the faulty calculations that gave birth to those things which continue to exist and have value for us. (“Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” 355) Thus, a genealogy of the discourse of dissociation moves away from the model established by contemporary studies of dissociation, like Adam Crabtree’s and Milton V. Kline’s, which seek to establish an “evolution” of the idea. Foucault’s work on madness demonstrates the problem with attempting to discover such an “evolution.” In a number of his earlier works, Foucault claims that history ought to be  understood  as moments of discontinuity, rupture, thresholds, limits and  transformations, which reveal the ways that modes of thinking have undergone significant changes, as opposed to progressing linearly. In The Birth of the Clinic, for example, Foucault argues that systems of thought, such as medical thinking on hysteria, do not simply "progress" in a seamless fashion as though medical knowledge is converging on an objective “truth”; rather, he suggests there is a rift between the truth of medical and scientific statements about the human subject and the discursive framework within which these  57  statements were conceived. The realisation that past systems of thought were constituted as true within an accepted structure reveals the inherently arbitrary nature of any framework of scientific and medical thought. Such an approach to the history of an idea would uncover what Foucault calls “recurrent distributions”: the multiplicity of frameworks that must be applied to any one area of history (Archaeology 5). These “recurrent distributions” reveal “several pasts, several forms of connexion, several hierarchies of importance, several networks of determination, several teleologies, for one and the same science” (Archaeology 5). By emphasising the notion of rupture, Foucault is able to emphasize the multiple and sometimes contradictory elements that work to formulate specific knowledge regimes, such as the Gothic mode or the discourse of dissociation. Yet, it is important to note, as Best and Kellner do, that although Foucault uses the concept of discontinuity to refer to the fact that in a transition from one historical era to another “things are no longer perceived, described, expressed, characterized, classified, and known in the same way,” there is no rupture or break so radical “as to spring forth ex nihilo and negate everything that has preceded it” (45). Foucault claims that rupture is possible “only on the basis of rules that are already in operation” (Qtd. in Best and Kellner 45). Rupture means not some absolute change, but a “redistribution of the [prior] episteme,” a reconfiguration of its elements, where, although there are new rules of a discursive formation redefining the boundaries and nature of knowledge and truth, there are significant continuities as well (Best and Kellner 46), and this redistribution certainly recalls Gothic’s ability to morph according to the historical and social context.  58  As both Robert Miles and Dale Townshend have demonstrated, Foucault’s genealogical method of viewing history is also an apt model for a history of Gothic. Townshend claims that the rise of Gothic writing toward the end of the eighteenth century marks and signals the onset of modernity and that without the fundamental reconfiguration of the epistemic and discursive scene in the late eighteenth century identified by Foucault, “Gothic writing, the dark product of the shift from classicism to modernity, might not have figured with quite so much horrific insistence as it did” (Townshend 1). As has been demonstrated, Miles comparatively views Gothic as neither a single nor a singular genre but rather as an “area of concern,” which is complex and multifarious in nature (4). Thus, Foucault’s emphasis on the ruptures, contradictions, overlaps and competing hierarchies which structure the unfolding of any idea seems a likely fit for an exploration of Gothic and Gothically inflected texts. Viewing Gothic in this way draws our attention to the intertextual nature of Gothic writing and to the ways that Gothic texts engage in an uncanny dialogue with other texts, especially those of psychopathology. In Chapter 2, I examine the emergence of the late-nineteenth-century discourse of dissociation and the ways in which this nascent discourse comes to both inform and be informed by Gothic fiction. Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde demonstrates the circuitous relationship between Gothic and mental science and illustrates that fictional representations of dissociation can be highly influential to scientists and the general public alike. Ostensibly inspired by French psychological case studies of dual or alternating personality, Stevenson’s text captivated the attention of some of the leading researchers interested in dissociative phenomena, such as F.W.H. Myers and Morton Prince.  59  Through a close reading of Stevenson’s text, Myer’s “Multiplex Personality” and Prince’s The Dissociation of a Personality, this chapter will explore this relationship in order to suggest that the discourse of dissociation has been formed and maintained by a circular and reciprocal relationship between Gothic fiction and scientific study. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on dissociogenic practices, such as mesmerism and hypnotism, exploring the controversies, mysteries and anxieties fostered by such practices in the public imagination. In Chapter 3, I briefly trace the history of such practices in the nineteenth century, from their emergence in Vienna and France in the late eighteenth century to their appearance in Great Britain in the 1830s, demonstrating the Victorians’ sustained interest in these practices throughout the nineteenth century. Dissociogenic practices compelled attention not only because they skirted the boundary between science and mysticism but also because they raised questions regarding the nature of influence, the power of the will, and the nature of intellectual authority. The nature of the relationship between the mesmerist or hypnotist and subject became the particular focus of late-nineteenth-century discussions of dissociogenic practices, and as the operator was typically a middle-class male and the subject was typically a lower-class female, this relationship offered a number of metaphoric possibilities for writers of Gothic fiction. In Chapter 3, I explore Richard Marsh’s portrayal of this relationship in The Beetle, where the villainess – a powerful Egyptian shape-shifter – uses her mesmeric power to enslave a number of British citizens, the majority of whom are male. This enslavement is made all the more disturbing by the fact that it occurs in London, the very heart of British civilisation and empire in the latenineteenth century. Marsh’s novel uses the mesmeric relationship to illuminate a complex  60  relationship between the permeability of mind, body, and nation that paradoxically serves to both uphold and undermine the supremacy of the British male subject. In Chapter 4, I continue my discussion of dissociogenic practices, examining late Victorian perceptions of the nature and power of influence in relation to George Du Maurier’s best-selling novel, Trilby. As dissociogenic practices highlighted the power that one individual could hold over another’s body and mind, the language of dissociation filtered into more general discussions of influence, prompting questions like under what conditions can the individual become susceptible to the influence of others? How might the individual guard him or herself against dangerous or otherwise pernicious influences? What is the place and function of “will-power”? Du Maruier engages with such questions through the figure of the demonic Jewish mesmerist and maestro, Svengali. In his novel, Du Maurier uses dissociogenic practices to explore issues of sexuality, gender identity, cultural identity and the nature of individual will-power in relation to outside influences in order to suggest the dangerous malleability of individual desires to outside forces. Finally, in Chapter 5 I turn my focus to nineteenth-century neurology, which attempted to locate the capacity for dissociation in the physical structure of the brain. As the science of neurology began to develop, biological explanations of psychological states became increasingly popular. By suggesting certain parts of the brain controlled specific emotions and behaviors, the cerebral localisation theories of nineteenth-century neurologists contradicted a number of long-held Victorian beliefs, such as the idea that a unified soul or mind governed human action. These theories challenged the belief in human agency and presented the possibility that “human beings might be soulless machines  61  governed solely by physiological impulses” (Stiles, “Neurological Romance” 4). The dark territories and uncharted regions of the brain are quite disturbingly Gothicised in the work of Welsh author Arthur Machen. Machen’s The Great God Pan and “The Inmost Light” present the brain as both a portal to other dimensions and a permeable barrier between the worlds of spirit and matter. Machen’s fiction demonstrates the ways in which the brain comes to be invested with metaphor in the late-nineteenth century, and how this metaphorical space comes to be largely figured as Gothic territory. From scientific case studies to the pages of popular fiction, discussions of dissociation were at the fore in the late Victorian period. Disintegrated Subjects is about the fascination and repulsion attached to dissociative states and dissociogenic practices and the ways in which such states and practices came to stand-in for a number of anxieties related to the rapidly changing British social landscape. An examination of the fiction and mental science that shared this fascination and repulsion reveals that our understanding of nonunitary mental states has been predominantly formed by a circuitous and reciprocal relationship between these seemingly disparate disciplines.  62  Chapter 2: From Doubles to Multiples: R.L. Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Alternate Consciousness Paradigm in Psychology and Gothic Fiction But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! .... So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. 24 Thus did my two wills, one new, and the other old, one carnal, the other spiritual, struggle within me; and by their discord, undid my soul.25 With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. 26  In his “Full Statement of the Case,” R.L. Stevenson’s Dr. Henry Jekyll reflects on the seemingly divided nature of man, coming to the conclusion that “man is not truly one, but truly two” (Stevenson 78-9). Jekyll claims that, “it [is] the curse of mankind that these incongruous faggots [are] thus bound together – that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling” (79). For Jekyll, this duality is “thorough” and “primitive,” suggesting that such division is fundamental to human psychology. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “shilling shocker,”27 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), has become the quintessential modern tale of dualism in man. The story follows lawyer John Gabriel Utterson as he attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll. The plot is centered on Jekyll’s increasingly odd behaviour and seemingly inexplicable relationship with the amoral and dark stranger, Mr.  24  St. Paul Romans 7:23 Saint Augustine Confessions (8.10) 26 Robert Louis Stevenson The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Peterborough: Broadview, 2005) at p. 78-79. 27 Shilling shockers, popular in the late-Victorian era, were novels typically depicting violent or otherwise lurid material, costing only one shilling to purchase. 25  63  Edward Hyde. Utterson, becoming “Mr. Seek” in his search for Mr. Hyde, speculates that Jekyll is being blackmailed by Hyde, fearing that “the ghost of some old sin, the cancer of some concealed disgrace” had come back to haunt Jekyll, the punishment coming “pede claudo” (43). It is eventually revealed, however, that the nature of Jekyll’s relationship with Hyde is far more disturbing and complex, for Hyde and Jekyll are in fact one. Although markedly different in appearance, Jekyll and Hyde share the same body, much of the same consciousness and even the same sins. Stevenson’s text has spawned countless adaptations in both theatre and film, has informed a wealth of critical discussions, and the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has found its way into contemporary vernacular as a synonym for split or bipolar personalities, most often depicting the contrast between a “good” and “bad” personality. Indeed, in addition to influencing the work of F.W.H. Myers and Morton Prince on the topic of multiple personality at the end of the nineteenth century, Steven’s tale continues to be cited by researchers interested in dissociation, such as John A. Sanford and Robert W. Rieber.28 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has become an iconic text of fin-de-siècle Gothic fiction, intermittently read as a tale of repressed sexuality,29 nineteenth-century homophobic panic,30 the workings of the criminal mind,31 the fear of degeneration,32 the anxiety related  28  John A. Sanford “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature eds. Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1991) pp. 2934. Robert W. Rieber The Bifurcation of the Self: The History And Theory of Dissociation And Its Disorders (New York: Birkhäuser, 2006). 29 See for example Stephen Heath’s Stephen. “Psychopathia Sexualis: Stevenson’s Strange Case” in Critical Quarterly 28 (1986): 93-108. 30 See for example Elaine Showalter’s reading of Jekyll and Hyde in Sexual Anarchy. London: Bloomsbury, 1990. 31 See for example Ronald R. Thomas’ reading of Jekyll and Hyde in Dreams of Authority: Freud and the Fictions of the Unconscious. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.  64  to shifting class-structures33 and the nature of human consciousness.34 With the popularity of psychoanalysis, many critics found resonances of the Freudian concept of repression 35 in the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde. The question of ‘what’ Jekyll represses has been taken up by critics and has resulted in a seemingly endless array of possibilities. Stephan Heath (1986) argues that Jekyll represses his sexuality so that the violence in the text is the eruption of Jekyll’s displaced sexual desires, with “random violence replac[ing] the sexual drive” (93-94). Elaine Showalter in Sexual Anarchy (1990) reads this repressed sexuality as one of same-sex desire and places the text in the context of Victorian anxieties over homosexuality, reading the text as a “fable of fin-de-siècle homosexual panic” in reaction to an increasingly active and vocal homosexual subculture (107). Stephen Arata (1996) reads Hyde as the repressed criminal in the bourgeois subject and as emblematic of the possibility that these two worlds may be colliding as “the atavist learns to pass as a gentleman” (39). As David Punter argues, “Jekyll’s view seems to be that the split in his being has derived much less from the presence within his psyche of an uncontrollable, passionate self than from the force with which that self has been repressed according to the dictates of social convention” (Literature of Terror, Vol.2, 2-3). He goes on to note that “Hyde is not Jekyll’s opposite, but something within him” as his small physiognomy suggests that he is only one 32  See for example Andrew Smith’s reading of Jekyll and Hyde in Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity and the Gothic at the Fin-De-Siecle. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. 33 See for example Stephan Arata’s reading of Jekyll and Hyde in Fictions of Loss in the Victorian Fin De Siecle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 34 See for example Nancy Gish’s “Jekyll and Hyde: The Psychology of Dissociation.” International Journal of Scottish Literature 2.2 (2007): 1-10. 35 Freud (along with Josef Breuer) introduced the concept of repression in Studies on Hysteria (1895). Here, Freud understood the concept as an act or “effort of will” by which the subject intentionally keeps disagreeable material (thoughts, memories, etc.) from conscious awareness because they clash with or threaten the integrity of the ego, or self. In this sense, “intentionally” does not necessarily mean “consciously”; it simply indicates that there is an identifiable motive, whether it be consciously recognised or not (Strachey Studies on Hysteria 10).  65  part of the complex whole (Literature of Terror, Vol.2, 4). Martin Danahay also reads the Jekyll/Hyde dyad using the discourse of repression, claiming that in his act of composing an autobiographical narrative, Jekyll, like other Victorian male autobiographers, represses and thus denies his connection to the social world in favour of an idealised individualism. The effect of such a repression is “a deeply divided and conflicted subjectivity” (Danahay, A Community of One 135), which finds expression in the split between Jekyll and Hyde. As these examples demonstrate, critics have suggested Stevenson’s novella parallels Freudian ideas of repression. However, Nancy Gish makes the provocative claim that “Hyde is neither unconscious nor repressed” (4). While this is a difficult contention to prove, Jekyll’s “Statement” indicates that he knows the elements of personality that come to constitute Hyde, if not fully, “from very early” so that from a young age he becomes “committed to a profound duplicity of life” (Stevenson 78). It is this commitment, along with the desire to “house” these disparate elements in separate identities (Stevenson 79), which drives Jekyll’s experimentation into the modification of personality. Woody and Bowers argue that Jekyll does not so much create Hyde as release him: The action of the drug in the story is simply to bring to light divisions that were already within: the action tendencies elicited in Hyde, horrific as they are to Jekyll, always lay dormant within Jekyll. The drug, rather than creating a second personality, weakens the integrative mechanisms by which the gaping cracks in a personality are papered over and normally hidden from view. (53)  66  Such a reading points to the ways that modern or neo-dissociation theory understands the self as already plural and fragmented,36 needing only an agent of cohesion to appear unified and whole. As the studies of dissociation by Pierre Janet, Elizabeth Howell and Laurence Kirmayer suggest, this cohesive agent is most often narrative in nature. Thus, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde both engages with contemporaneous theories of psychic fragmentation and predicts contemporary understandings of the dissociative mind. By demonstrating the connections between Stevenson’s Strange Case and the work of researchers like Janet, F.W.H. Myers and Morton Prince, it becomes clear that the discourse of dissociation is formed and maintained by a circuitous and reciprocal relationship between creative fiction and scientific study, illustrating Robert Rieber’s claim that tales like Stevenson’s “had a formidable impact on the reading public... [which] manifested itself straight through from the scientific literature to pop culture and back again” (Rieber 43). In positioning Stevenson’s text against the backdrop of contemporaneous and contemporary theories of dissociation, I want to suggest that The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde indeed acts like a case study, illustrating the complex relationship between dissociation and narrative as well as the hybrid character of dissociation discourse. Furthermore, this discourse is Gothically inflected: it is both based on Gothic tropes like doubles and duality and borrows from Gothic tales, like Stevenson’s and the work of E.T.A. Hoffman. The publication of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in January 1886 coincided with a number of other important treatises on the topics of dissociated 36  For example, see Robert J. Lifton’s The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation (New York: Basic Books, 1993), Rita Carter’s Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and The Self (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008) or John Rowan and Mick Cooper’s The Plural Self: Multiplicity in Everyday Life (London: Sage, 1999). Lifton, for example, identifies the self as “fluid and many-sided” (1).  67  consciousness and alterations in personality. In Rewriting the Soul Ian Hacking claims that the discourse of multiple personality came into being in July 1885 with the publication of Louis Vivet’s case in France. In 1886 the case of Vivet, a man said to manifest up to eight separate personalities, was made known to the broader English audience with a publication that appeared in the “Psychological Retrospect” section of the Journal of Mental Science in January 1886, written by A. Myers, and then again in the November Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research by his brother, F.W.H. Myers, in a piece entitled “Multiplex Personality.” In the following year, Pierre Janet published an article outlining his theory of dissociation, and Eugène Azam  put out his text Hypnotisme, double conscience et  altérations de la personnalité: le cas Félida X, in which he discusses the well known case of Félida X, a woman whose secondary personality came to supersede her primary state. Azam had already published his opinions on the case in a series of articles that appeared in Revue Scientifique in the 1870s. In 1889 Janet published L’automatisme psychologique in which he attempted to outline a new scientific theory of psychological pathology. In this work, Janet proposed a theory of somnambulism that countered popular conceptions of the somnambulist as merely an automaton, claiming that somnambulists are able to speak, resolve problems and sometimes even resist the commands of their hypnotist or magnetiser. Janet also resisted the notion that there could be only one, unified ‘I’ in any human being, claiming that the unity of the ‘I’ had to be “established by facts, not assumed by virtue of some metaphysical theory” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 315). According to Crabtree, “Janet claimed that personality involves the grouping of psychological phenomena in a synthesis that experiences itself as an ‘I.’ Whenever one finds this synthesis  68  and the corresponding judgment of an ‘I’ within that synthesis, there is a personality” (From Mesmer to Freud 315). While the notion of double or divided consciousness and the nature of the secondary self revealed in trance states had been topics of interest for the preceding 100 years, there was a surge of renewed interest in the 1870s and 1880s, largely due to the ‘sanctioned’ scientific interest of researchers like Jean Martin Charcot. As John Herdman explains it, In  the  last  quarter  of  the  century  the  work  of  the  new  French  psychologists...reinstated the concept of double personality in the world of scientific psychology. The clinical work in mental institutions of the two Janets, of Charcot and Binet, largely endorsed the theories of the Romantic psychologists in revealing, as they believed, a second personality (activated, for instance, in somnambulism) eternally at war with the first, and liable to usurp and take possession of the entire life of the subject. (19) It is in this milieu of interest in dissociated consciousness that Stevenson wrote and published his text, which Jill Matus describes as “the literary expression of divided being” (emphasis original, 161). Matus positions Stevenson’s text as part of a cluster of ideas about the way the mind responds to “overwhelming or inassimilable experience,” ideas which are dependent on assumptions about a non-unitary self, capable – under pressure – of switching “from one strand of consciousness and memory to another, or indeed, several others” (Matus 160), forming a cluster that combines the literary with the scientific. The interdisciplinary nature of this cluster demonstrates that understandings of psychology and  69  mental processes are rarely drawn exclusively from official science and that there is a narrative component to such understandings that mirrors that of literature. The connection between literary and scientific accounts of dissociative phenomena has been well noted by scholars interested in Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), or as it is currently labeled by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). In his study of multiple personality and literary character, Jeremy Hawthorn claims: there appear[s] to be analogies and, in some cases connections, between the divisions of personality reported on in [psychiatric] accounts [of multiple personality] and the divisions within literary characters....bringing together literary portrayals of personality disintegration with such clinical accounts might result in mutual illumination, and might also point towards explanations for both the literary and the clinical fragmentation of personality, in larger changes in the social life of the modern period. (ix) While both Hawthron and Matus believe that literature and science are both “mutually influential” (Matus 160) in the development of theories about the non-unitary self, scholars who are cynical of the veracity of Multiple Personality Disorder have often negatively viewed the circuitous relationship between fiction and psychology. For example, AldridgeMorris (1989) and Merskey (1992) claim that MPD is the product of the public fascination with sensational stories like Thigpen and Cleckley’s text The Three Faces of Eve (1957) or Schreiber’s Sybil (1973), claiming that there was a notable increase of reported cases after the publication of these texts. Aldridge-Morris calls Multiple Personality an “exercise in  70  deception”37 and sees it as a cultural phenomenon rather than an independently occurring mental disorder; Mayer-Gross et al (1969) claim that multiple personalities were always artificial productions, due to medical attention and literary interest; and Merskey argues that widespread publicity for the concept makes it uncertain whether any case can now arise without being promoted by the suggestion of popular culture. In the same vein, Robert Rieber writes, “The popular literature of the [nineteenth century] flooded the minds of the public with fascinating macabre psychological novels that dealt with various aspects of mind brain stories about human beings’ moral problems, including sanity and identity” (43), citing the work of Stevenson and Edgar Allan Poe as examples. Ian Hacking admits that Multiple Personality Disorder “has dined all too well on cheap novellas, tabloid newspapers, movies and above all else, television” (“Multiple Personality and its Hosts” 4-5); however, he claims that this is simply the nature of the disorder, and not something that undermines its impact on those who identify with it. Hacking identifies successive waves of interest in multiple or divided personality, from about 1800 onward. Beginning with sporadic reports of doubleconsciousness in European and American medical literature, interest in dual and multiple personality reached an all-time high in the last few decades of the nineteenth century. Most recently, North America has found renewed interest in multiple personality, and the influx of reported cases in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in what Boor labels an “epidemic.” 38 Hacking argues that each wave of popularity of the diagnosis of MPD was made possible by  37  Aldridge-Morris, Ray. Multiple Personality: An Exercise in Deception. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1989. 38  Boor, M. “The Multiple Personality Epidemic: Additional Cases and Inferences Regarding Diagnosis, Etiology, Dynamics, and Treatment.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders 170: 302-304, 1982.  71  its linkage with some social issue of great importance, such as spiritualism in the nineteenth century and child abuse in the twentieth. Hacking is able to tie these rather divergent issues together through the concept of “the host.” Hacking describes dissociative phenomena, specifically multiple personality, as a type of parasite, attaching itself to a ready host in order to come into being: “The host provides a way to experience or express mental anguish; the parasite thrives only in a peculiar conjunction of medical and social conditions .... The hosts themselves seem to have nothing in common— they include psychical research cum spiritism, late nineteenth-century positivism and, today, child abuse” (“Multiple Personality and its Hosts” 4). Speaking of the nineteenth century, Hacking claims that the assortment of reports on dual, alternating or double consciousness prior to 1875 were “curiosities” that made no sense until they could be attached to and “absorbed” by a relevant host culture. Stevenson’s “Gothic gnome”39 has recently been understood by critics as a pivotal piece in the discursive formation of “multiple personality” as an object of knowledge. In “Jekyll and Hyde: The Psychology of Dissociation,” Nancy Gish claims that Janet’s theory of dissociated consciousness, along with the work of F.W.H. Myers and Morton Prince, “provides the most compelling conceptual framework for understanding Stevenson’s representation of duality” and the structure of personality and consciousness in Stevenson’s text (1). However, Gish’s study suggests that Stevenson’s text does more than simply parallel the language of dissociation theory in the nineteenth century; rather, Stevenson’s language, in the voice of Jekyll, “anticipates recent neo-dissociation theory that assumes 39  Stevenson, R.L. quoted in Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995 at p. 54. Print.  72  originary plurality rather than fragmented unity” (Gish 3). In the same vein, Matus claims that to read Stevenson’s tale in the context of Frederick Myers’s discussion of multiple personality [Is] to see that both psychological discourse and literary creativity are responding to  the idea that the unitary self is illusory; both ponder the consequences of the idea that will and knowledge may be split and undermined as one state of consciousness gives way to another. Both question what implications the notion of a fragmented self may have for ethics, responsibility, self-possession and self-governance. (19) To what extent Stevenson was aware of and influenced by reports of double, alternating, split and multiple personalities has been debated by scholars. John Herdman claims that Stevenson was a “profound admirer of the new psychology and actively interested in psychic research,” (20) and Elaine Showalter has suggested that Stevenson may have read about the case of Vivet in the Archives de Neurologie (Sexual Anarchy 105). Stevenson’s wife Fanny has also suggested that her husband was influenced by reports of divided consciousness; in a prefatory note to the 1905 Tusitala Edition of Stevenson’s works, Fanny writes that her husband was “deeply impressed by a paper he read in a French scientific journal on sub-consciousness” (qtd in Matus 161). This unnamed article, she adds, "gave the germ of the idea" that Stevenson afterward developed into Deacon Brodie, or, The Double Life (1880), a play about an eighteenth-century Scottish town councillor who led a secret nocturnal life of crime, and then again in his "Markheim" (1885), and, finally, "in a hectic fever following a hemorrhage of the lungs," it "culminated in the dream of Jekyll and Hyde" (Qtd. in Stiles, “‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and the Double Brain” 879). Stevenson, however, denied  73  that he had ever heard of an actual case of double consciousness before writing his novella. As he told one interviewer in 1893, “After the book was published I heard of the case of ‘Louis V.,’ the man in the hospital at Rochefort. Mr. Myers sent it to me” (qtd. in Matus 162). Anne Stiles suggests that in light of striking correspondences between Stevenson's work and case studies in French and British popular and medical journals during the 1870s and 1880s, “it seems highly unlikely that Stevenson's reply to the reporter was entirely honest” (880). Richard Dury suggests that Stevenson resisted revealing his inspirational sources because he did not wish "to provide a single key to a story that is intended to remain enigmatic" (248). As Daniel Pick argues in another context, attempts to settle the limits of ‘what Stevenson knew’ should not be pursed too seriously as “what is in question is not just direct influence, but the wider cultural and social determinants” which produce what could “make sense” in the period (Svengali’s Web 146). If the sources of inspiration for the story of Jekyll and Hyde are difficult to discern, the same cannot be said for the influence the text has had on theories of dissociation. Robert Mighall has argued that if Stevenson did not take inspiration directly from the case of Louis Vivet, “we can suspect that he might have given something to the writing up of it by Myers (1886)” (qtd. in Matus 162). Certainly, as both Mighall and Matus have highlighted, there are some striking similarities between the work of Stevenson and Myers. Myers took a noted interest in The Strange Case, predicting that Stevenson’s reputation would be made by the text. Myers wrote to Stevenson twice with suggestions for revision that he believed would make the tale adhere more closely to “observed psychological fact” (Qtd. in Matus 168), once shortly after the text’s publication and once again in 1887, urging Stevenson to  74  perfect his “masterpiece.” Myers felt that Stevenson’s representation of the shared memory and handwriting of Jekyll and Hyde diverged too greatly from reported cases of double and multiple personality, suggesting that at first “the community [of memory] would be very imperfect” between the two personalities, but “gradually the two memories would fuse into one” (emphasis original, qtd. in Matus 169). Similarly, Myers felt that the handwriting of the two personalities should be different as “[h]andwriting in cases of double personality (spontaneous ... or induced, as in hypnotic cases) is not and cannot be the same in the two personalities. Hyde’s writing might look like Jekyll’s done with the left hand, or done when partly drunk, or ill: that is the kind of resemblance there might be” (emphasis original, qtd. in Matus 170). Stevenson’s reply to Myers in March of 1886 was cordial, thanking him for his “just” suggestions. He tells him “I shall keep your paper; and if ever my works come to be collected, I will put my back into these suggestions” (The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Vol. II [1880-1887] 325). Stevenson, however, never made the revisions suggested by Myers, which for Myers was “a real misfortune to English literature” (qtd. in Matus 169). Nonetheless, in his obituary for Stevenson in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Myers lauded Stevenson’s work for being “of such special value to the psychologist” for he “offered one of the most striking examples on record of the habitual uprush and incursion into ordinary consciousness of ideas or pictures conceived and matured in some subconscious region, without sense of effort or choice or will” (6-7). Throughout his career Myers was intrigued by the “uprush” of ideas from the subconscious “into ordinary consciousness,” and he was particularly interested in what he called the “multiplex and mutable character” of “the personality of man” (“Multiplex  75  Personality” 496). Much of his work focused on the possibility that the human personality could survive after death, the study of which culminated in his posthumously published Human Personality and its Survival after Bodily Death (1903). Myers believed that humans possessed psychical capabilities of which they were only dimly aware. As David Lomas understands Myers’ theory, “Just as the visible part of the spectrum includes only a fraction of the radiation emitted by the sun, so too our conscious self is only one small part of an extended psychical entity” (67). Myers believed that we could catch a glimpse of our subliminal self under the right circumstances, claiming that this secondary self could be “vast[ly] superior to our mundane, everyday self” (Lomas 67). Shamdasani claims that for Myers, in contradistinction to his contemporaries such as Freud and Janet, the subconscious or subliminal secondary personalities revealed in trance states, dreaming, crystal gazing, and automatic writing “potentially possessed a higher intelligence than one’s waking or supraliminal personality and often served to convey messages of guidance” (“Encountering Hélène” xv). As Myers explains in a piece for the May 1889 Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, “[e]ach of us, we may say, contains within himself the potentiality of an unknown number of personalities, some at least of which may be educated to become so readily recurrent as his primary personality, although no one of them can – anymore than his primary personality – be made to manifest itself in a really continuous manner” (qtd. in Matus 166). Thematically, then, the works of Stevenson and Myers share many concerns: the mutability of personality, the capacity for spontaneous fluctuations of self, and a view of man as composed of many selves. There are also some striking similarities in the language used by Stevenson and Myers in their explorations of man’s multiple natures. Jekyll’s claim  76  that “man will ultimately be known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens” (Stevenson 79) is echoed by Myers in “Multiplex Personality” when he speaks of “the dissolution into inco-ordinate elements of the polity of our being” (502). Myers also refers to Vivet’s “monkey-like imprudence,” a term that bears resemblance to the descriptions of Hyde as a “thing like a monkey” (65) full of “ape-like fury” (46), who carries out “apelike tricks” out of “apelike spite” (92). Matus cautions that we should not attribute this shared language exclusively to a ‘borrowing’ from one another: “If Myers seems to echo Jekyll, Jekyll himself echoes phraseology and ideas which are to be found in Myers’s earlier psychological writings” (163). Additionally, the use of the term “ape” and other primitive terminology to emphasise the “animality” of Vivet and Hyde would have been influenced by the work of Darwin and Herbert Spencer, among others. The extent to which these men borrowed ideas and phraseology from one another remains uncertain; however, we can discern from these two examples that towards the end of the nineteenth century a discourse of dissociation was emerging, and an essential component in this matrix of formation is indeed Stevenson’s Strange Case. 2.1 “The Second Self” in Psychology and Fiction The concept of a divided or multiple self was not a new one in the nineteenth century. Indeed, as Masao Miyoshi contends, “questions about [the self’s] makeup and meaning have been among the most insistent concerns of Western thought” (xiii). In The Republic Plato suggests that the psyche or soul is comprised of three parts – the appetitive or the irrational, the rational and the spirited – which must remain in the correct balance in the individual (104). Yet, as the quotations from St. Paul and Augustine at the beginning of  77  this chapter make clear, finding the correct balance was not always an easy task. St. Paul describes the presence of two wills at war within him: the higher will, which seeks to serve the law of God, and the lower will, which desires sinful pleasures. In The Confessions Augustine says he came to understand St. Paul’s assertion, claiming that the struggle between his “two wills” was so great that it “undid” his soul. Augustine writes that his “inner self” was “a house divided against itself” in a “fierce struggle, in which [he] was [his] own contestant”, feeling himself “beside myself with madness that would bring me sanity” (Qtd. in Herdman 7). Thus, the notion of a fragmented subjectivity or consciousness has informed much of the Western philosophical and theological traditions. This might be because, as John Herdman argues in his study of the double in literature, “[t]he experience of duality can be described as the foundation stone of human consciousness” (1). 40 Herdman continues: This consciousness, in what makes it distinctively human, rests upon our recognition of the distinction between the “I” and the “not-I”....The existence of two, and the recognition of its existence, is necessary to the basic dialectic upon which the possibility of language rests. Consciousness develops in the child through a progressive acknowledgement of the other and its claims. The “not-I”, however, is not always experienced as external to the individual; it can also be experienced as existing within the self. The experience of self-division, or at least the potential for it, is almost an inseparable condition of consciousness. (1)  40  Herman’s study is focused on the Western tradition, in particular the influences that worked to make the double a popular figure in nineteenth-century fiction.  78  Because of this, Herdman argues, the double has been one of the most prevalent and enduring themes in myth and literature. As a literary device, the double is used for articulating the experience of self-division and to shed light on the inner workings of the human mind. Ralph Tymms claims that “superficially, doubles are among the facile, and less reputable devices of fiction” (15), and yet the trope has been not only popular but powerful. The roots of the theme are diverse, and accounts of the double have been recorded from the earliest times. Herdman claims that many accounts are firmly embedded in initial speculations on the nature of the soul, especially the belief that the soul existed independently of the body and could depart from it (2). Erwin Rohde, in his study Psyche (1890-1894), claimed that the ancient Greeks regarded the soul as an “image” that constitutes a “second self” by reflecting the visible self. In his reading of Homeric poetry, Rohde argues that man,41 as a material reality, is contrasted with psyche, presented as separate from yet integral to the living body. Upon the death of the living body, the psyche makes its departure into Hades, and “is invested with the name and value of the complete personality, the ‘self’ of the man” (6). For Rohde, this proves that in the Homeric tradition, both the “visible man (the body and its own faculties) and the indwelling psyche could be described as the man’s ‘self’” (emphasis original, 6). And while “[s]uch an idea – that the psyche should dwell within the living and fully conscious personality, like an alien and a stranger, a feebler double of the man, as his ‘other self’ – may well seem very strange to us,” it is in fact “what so-called ‘savage’ peoples, all over the world, actually believe” (6). However, as Rohde points out, this belief was not limited to “savage” people; it was also  41  By which Rhode means “human”.  79  held to be true by Greek poets and philosophers. Through the experience of an apparent “double of the self” in dreams, swoons and ecstasy, the belief that there is “a two-fold principle of life in man” and of “the existence of an independent, separable ‘second self’ dwelling within the visible self of daily life” came to be widespread in the age of Homer (67). The double became an especially popular motif in the late-eighteenth century and early-nineteenth century, developed in somewhat different forms in the early Gothic and Romantic traditions. Miyoshi claims that Gothic and Romanticism are “traditions which together created the prototypes of man divided” that would reappear throughout Victorian literature (xiv). Gothic in particular is “well instrumented to explore the evil and irrationality of man and his sharply personal sense of the war within” (Miyoshi xiv). Matthew Brennan echoes this contention, claiming that “In both literature and art, the Gothic principally represents psychic disintegration, myths about the breakdown of identity and the decentering of the Self” (9). In the works of early Gothic fiction, such as Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), characters are often presented as mirror opposites, such as Isabella and Matilda, or as suffering from some type of inner conflict or contrast in character, as seen in Manfred’s struggle to negotiate his desire to produce an heir in order to retain the usurped lordship of Otranto. Miyoshi argues that “Manfred is alternately all goodness and reason, and passionate to the point of ferocity. At one moment he is admiring Friar Jerome’s ‘saint-like virtue’ and wishing to emulate it, and at the next trembling with a ‘rage’ strangely compounded with ‘shame’” (6). Similarly, duality is figured as duplicity in Matthew Lewis’s novel The Monk (1796), where Ambrossio lives a double life as both an  80  esteemed religious leader and a rapist and murderer. Doubleness is also expressed in a number of “Gothic” themes and literary devices, such as the theme of evil and remorse (Herdman 21) and what might be termed “the double plot,” the oscillation of stories or perspectives, such as the switch between Antonia’s and Ambrosio’s perspectives in The Monk. The double ‘proper’ has its origins as a fictional device in Germany, in the “philosophical, literary, and scientific theories of German Romanticism” (Labriola 69) and with the tradition of the Doppelgänger. According to Patrick Labriola, in the German Romantic poetic tradition, the double represents the poet’s “constant struggle with himself to reach beyond his own existence” and the poet’s “continuous longing for the infinite, which can never be fulfilled” (69). Since “the Romantic ego” is constantly striving for something higher than itself, “the Romantic poet finds himself divided into two parts: one is rooted in his mortal existence, the other pursues a higher transcendental harmony with the infinite” (69-70). This discrepancy between the “real” and the “ideal” found expression in the figure of the Doppelgänger. The Doppelgänger is a second self, or alter ego, which appears as a distinct and separate being apprehensible by the physical senses although it exists in a dependent relation to the original. The nature of this dependency varies, but as Herdman points out, often the double comes “to dominate, control, and usurp the functions of the subject” (14). The most characteristic Doppelgängers have a supernatural or subjective aspect, which makes their objective reality questionable, yet, as Herdman notes, “the psychological power of the device lies in its ambiguity, in the projection of the  81  subject’s subjectivity upon a being whose reality the structure of the novel or story obliges the reader to accept” (14). James Hogg’s The Private Memoires and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) illustrates the ambiguity Herman identifies as the underlying force of the theme of the double. Set in seventeenth-century Scotland, Hogg’s novel focuses on a “collision of extremes in an individual psyche” (Botting 110). Religious ideas related to Calvinism, Presbyterianism and antinomianism,42 in conjunction with political and familial conflict, set the stage for Robert Wringhim’s moral and psychological disintegration. Raised by his mother’s Reverend (who is also his namesake)43 rather than his aristocratic family, the Colwans, Robert is taught to believe that he is one of the Elect, making “his place in, no matter what he does on earth” (Botting 110). Shortly after his seventeenth birthday, the young Wringhim meets an unusual character who goes by the name Gil-Martin. Gil-Martin possesses the unique ability to transform his physical appearance, changing into the personage of whomever he was focussed on. Robert embarks on a life of indulgence and crime, eventually killing his brother George, his mother and a local girl who accused him of seducing her. Possessing no memory of these crimes, Robert comes to suspect his new friend might be the devil. Wringhim, after unsuccessfully trying to escape from his demonic double, hangs himself.  42  A term coined by Martin Luther to express the belief that faith alone is necessary for salvation, making Christian ethics that define morality obsolete. For example, see Botting’s discussion of Hogg’s text in Gothic (London: Routledge, 1996) or Herdman’s in The Double in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (London: Macmillan, 1990). 43 Although Robert’s patronage is never confirmed, it is strongly suggested that the Reverend is his biological father. In the narrative, George Colwan denies Robert as his son, leaving Mrs. Colwan to raise him with the help of her chaplain and guardian, Robert Wringhim.  82  The precise relationship between Wringhim and Gil-Martin is never fully explained. The imaginary editor, whose narrative frames Wringhim’s Confessions, refers to the story as madness, a dream or “a religious parable” (198), contradicting Wringham’s account in a number of places. And while Gil-Martin’s true identity is left uncertain, Wringham’s narrative of the experience points to concurrent developments in the burgeoning science of psychology and the exploration of disjunctive mental states. Gil-Martin claims to be Wringhim’s “second self” (97), a claim Wringhim corroborates when he says: I generally conceived myself to be two people. When I lay in bed, I deemed there were two of us in it; when I sat up, I always beheld another person, and always in the same position from the place where I sat or stood...It mattered not how many or how few were present: this my second self was sure to be present in his place. (Hogg 127) This perception that he is really “two people” is matched by an almost equal force of amnesia, for Wringhim claims to remember nothing of his many crimes. This lack of memory comes to be figured as a subjective disturbance. Wringhim claims, I seemed hardly to be an accountable creature; being thus in the habit of executing transactions of the utmost moment, without being sensible that I did them. I was a being incomprehensible to myself. Either I had a second self, who transacted business in my likeness, or else my body was at times possessed by a spirit over which it had no controul [sic], and of whose actions my own soul was wholly unconscious....To be in a state of consciousness and unconsciousness, at the same time, in the same body and same spirit, was impossible. (Hogg 150-1)  83  However, as the work of the marquis de Puységur in the practice of animal magnetism had shown, to be in a state of consciousness and unconsciousness at the same time and in the same body was indeed possible. Although Franz Anton Mesmer had many notable students and followers, the marquis de Puységur (Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet) is perhaps the most important to the history of dissociative phenomena. His discovery of “magnetic somnambulism” or “magnetic sleep” in 1784 during his experiments with animal magnetism “would change the course of the history of psychiatry and psychology” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 39). Mesmer’s theories and practice will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3, but a brief introduction is necessary here to appreciate Puységur’s work. Mesmer developed the theory of animal magnetism (originally termed animal gravity) in the late eighteenth century. This theory posited that all human bodies, much like the heavenly bodies, were connected by an unseen physical force. Mesmer believed that the sun, the moon and other heavenly bodies exert a vital influence on earth and its organisms by way of an allpenetrating invisible, vital fluid, which can be manipulated for the service of improving the health and vitality of the subject. Any diminishment of or obstruction to this vital force would produce disease and disorder in the organism. A magnetiser was required to improve health by restoring the natural balance of this fluid in the subject. Within Mesmer’s paradigm, nature had endowed the magnetiser with a surplus of magnetic fluid, which he could use to improve the health of others. This was done by making passes with the hands over the magnetised, with the assistance of an iron wand or by the use of a baquet, an oaken tub specially designed to store and transmit magnetic fluid. The room where Mesmer  84  held his treatments was kept dark, and except for the carefully-chosen music (typically played on wind instruments, a pianoforte, or the glass ‘harmonica’), there was silence during the treatment. Mesmer, wearing an ornate lilac taffeta robe, would fix the patients with his gaze or touch them with his hand or iron wand. Everything in Mesmer’s clinic was designed to produce a strong physical reaction in the patient referred to as a ‘crisis’, generated in the patient by the establishment of a magnetic current, which Mesmer believed was essential to the healing process. After the agitation of the crisis, the subject would often enter into a state of languor and deep sleep. In contrast to Mesmer, Puységur believed that this state, which he termed “magnetic sleep,” was more beneficial than the violent crisis for the restoration of health. Through this belief, he came to focus much of his attention on this state. While using animal magnetism to treat Victor Race, a peasant of his estate suffering from congested lungs and a fever, Puységur discovered an unusual state of consciousness, a state in which the subject is seemingly both awake and asleep. In his observations of Victor, Puységur set forth the basic characteristics of this hitherto undefined condition, which he called “magnetic somnambulism” or “magnetic sleep”: “a sleep-walking kind of consciousness, a ‘rapport’ or special connection with the magnetizer, suggestibility, and amnesia in the waking state for events in the magnetized state” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 39). Puységur termed this condition magnetic somnambulism based on the similarities he noticed between Victor’s magnetic state and the naturally occurring state of sleep-walking, or somnambulism. In fact, as Crabtree notes, Puységur came to believe that the induction of magnetic sleep was simply a way of mobilising and controlling natural  85  somnambulism. In Recherches, experiences et observations physiologiques sur l’homme dans l’état de somnambulisme naturel et dans le somnambulisme provoqué par l’acte magnétique (1811), Puységur compared the two somnambulistic states, concluding that they were essentially the same but with subtle differences, such as the manner of production. Puységur understood somnambulism as a state of consciousness in which the subject is neither asleep nor awake but a combination of both. In a somnambulistic state the subject is capable of carrying out ordinary activities while asleep. As though their exterior senses are asleep, Somnambulists act intelligently but manifest an apparent disregard of what is going on around them. They may speak, drink, eat, and move around; they may read, write, distinguish colors, and carry out various other mental activities. Indeed, both natural and magnetic somnambulists seem to be capable of performing intellectual tasks beyond the sleeper’s usual abilities. This is apparently due in part to an extraordinary concentration of attention that also makes them largely unresponsive to stimuli from their environment. (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 40-1) In his  émoires pour servir  l histoiré et  l établissement du magné sme animal (1784),  Puységur mentions an additional characteristic of magnetic sleep – a notable alteration in personality, remarking that Victor is “no longer a naive peasant who can barely speak a sentence” when he is magnetised; “He is someone whom I do not know how to name” ( émoires 35). Puységur claimed that when Victor was entranced, he knew no one “as profound, prudent, or clear-sighted" ( émoires 33). This is a trait Puységur observed in other magnetised subjects as well. Much like Victor, Puységur’s patient Alexandre Hébert  86  displayed a drastic change in his personality and behaviour while magnetised. According to Crabtree, “Normally a quiet, uncertain, sometimes petulant, sometimes violent boy, Alexandre would become articulate, self-assured, clearheaded, and calm in the somnambulistic state” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 83). Such radical changes in personality in somnambulists are found throughout the history of animal magnetism and early hypnotism. While in a somnambulistic state, the subject often displayed personality traits which contrasted his or her personality in the waking state and spoke of his/her “waking self” with a sense of detachment, as if speaking of another person. Furthermore, Puységur observed that subjects could typically not recall what had transpired during the magnetic state while in the normal or waking state. He concluded that “the demarcation is so great that one must regard these two states as two different existences” ( émoires 90). He also noted that there was a continuity of memory within the individual in the state of magnetic sleep: “Whereas the waking person can remember nothing of the magnetic state, the somnambulist remembers both the waking state and all that has occurred in previous magnetic states” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 42). In establishing that the somnambulistic memory thread is separate from the memory thread of the waking person, Puységur helped to usher in a new stage in the history of psychology discovery. Puységur’s characterisation of “two different existences” in human beings and his discovery of magnetic sleep “introduced a radically new view of the human psyche and opened up a fresh vista of psychological inquiry” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 87-88). Observation of the mind was no longer confined to “the rational, conscious layers of the psyche,” (Herdman 13) and in these depths multiple and incongruous selves might be  87  discovered. Magnetic sleep revealed that consciousness was divided and that human beings possessed a second consciousness quite distinct from their normal, everyday consciousness. This second consciousness often displays personality characteristics unlike those of the waking self in taste, value judgments and mental acuity and has its own unique memory chain, with continuity of memory and identity from one episode of magnetic sleep to the next, separated from ordinary or waking consciousness by a memory barrier. Puységur’s discovery gave rise to what Crabtree terms “the alternate consciousness paradigm,” which posits that humans are divided beings. We tend to identify our ordinary consciousness as ourselves, and the second, alternate consciousness revealed in trance states, seems like a foreign subject to the ordinary self. According to Crabtree this feeling of alienation is due in part to the memory barrier between the two states and the fact that the secondary consciousness typically has a distinct and separate identity from the waking self: “This alienation is the basis on which the alternate-consciousness paradigm explains mental disorders, for the second consciousness may develop thoughts or emotions very different from and even opposed to those of the ordinary self, causing one to think, feel, and act in uncharacteristic ways” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 88). Such a view became the inspiration for much fiction, as demonstrated by a text like Hogg’s Confessions. Herdman claims that in the theory of magnetic trance, “novelists found an endlessly suggestive source of secondary personalities, and thrilling confirmation of the insight that the human mind could be entered and controlled by an alien will” (153). The marked contrasts in personalities, the seemingly unavoidable amnesia between the two states, and the capacity for the subject to be controlled by the magnetist became the source of inspiration for  88  writers like Hogg, E.T.A. Hoffman and Stevenson. In the work of such writers, the emergence of the second self is often figured as a dark and disturbing experience, the work of the devil or mad science, effectively establishing the Gothic tone that would come to be attached to both fictional and clinical accounts of alterations in personality. Since the late eighteenth century, the literary double has fused folkloric fantasy with the scientific observation of the mind. As Ralph Tymms puts it, in the literature of doubles “the magic of the soul (in folk-lore) gives place to the magic of personality with its often dissociated substrata of consciousness (in romantic and modern psychological thought)” (15-16). The German Romantics, and most decisively E.T.A. Hoffmann, were inestimably influenced by the psychological researches of the time. Hoffman’s tales focus on doubles, automata, the supernatural and madness, “depict[ing] minds divided against themselves to the point of pathology and possession, conjuring up the darkness within as palpable phantasms and fantastic realities which irrupt disastrously into the calm, civilized life with which they are satirically contrasted” (Herdman 47). Perhaps Hoffman’s best known tale is “The Sand-man” (1816), which tells the tale of Nathaniel, a young man haunted by the memory of the lawyer and alchemist Coppelius, who Nathaniel believes is the legendary sand-man: a figure who comes to steal the eyes of children to feed his own children on the moon. Nathaniel associates Coppelius with his father’s death, and years later as a student at university, he encounters a barometer seller by the name of Giuseppe Coppola, who he believes is really Coppelius. The tale charts the decline of Nathaniel as he struggles to deal with his fear of the sandman, his belief that Coppelius has returned and his brooding obsession with Olympia, the daughter of the physics professor Spalanzani. It is eventually  89  revealed that Coppola is indeed Coppelius and that Olympia is an automaton. The tale ends with Nathaniel’s suicide after the attempted murder of his fiancée, Clara. The power of this tale lies in the tension between fantasy and reality, between subjective and objective experience. To say that the horror of Olympia or Coppola/Coppelius exists “only” in the imagination of Nathaniel is to “rob the device of the double of all its potency” (Herdman 50). However, there is a compelling psychological component to Nathaniel’s story, one that was not only influenced by advancements in psychology but was also influential to the mental sciences, particularly the development of psychoanalytical theories of subjectivity. As the work of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank attests, the figure of the double has been instrumental in the development of psychoanalytic theories, and in turn, these theories have come to influence the study of literature. Freud’s essay “The ‘Uncanny’” (1919) has become a staple text in examinations of the theme of the literary double and studies of Gothic literature more generally. Tzvetan Todorov, for example, defines Gothic as a mode of the fantastic, but specifies Gothic as that which includes the uncanny and the marvellous. According to Todorov, the fantastic is a moment of uncertainty, for both reader and character alike, where an unexplainable event occurs in an otherwise realistic landscape, causing the character and/or reader to decide if such an event is the result of an illusion or fantasy or if it has indeed occurred, revealing that this reality “is controlled by laws unknown to us” (Todorov 25). Todorov claims that if the reader decides that the “laws of reality remain intact” and permit an explanation, then the work belongs to the genre of “the Uncanny,” which he classifies as the “supernatural explained,” as is common in the works of Gothic writers like Ann Radcliffe and Clara Reeves (41). If the reader decides that  90  new laws of nature must be considered to account for the phenomena, then “we enter the genre of the marvellous,” in which Todorov places the work of Gothic writers like Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis and Charles Maturin (41). While Freud is not the first writer to explore the concept of the uncanny, the rich and complex understanding of the term he develops in his essay has provided the current critical vocabulary for discussions of the uncanny. Freud defines the uncanny as being “undoubtedly related to what is frightening— to what arouses dread and horror” (“The ‘Uncanny” 219). The uncanny marks the uncertain movement between the heimlich and the unheimlich, but the relationship between these two terms is not strictly oppositional, as what is unfamiliar (unheimlich) was once familiar (heimlich). Definitions of unheilmlich are problematised even further by the varied understandings of its related term, heimlich. According to Freud, “In general we are reminded that the word ‘heimlich’ is not unambiguous, but belongs to two sets of ideas, which, without being contradictory, are yet very different: on the one hand it means what is familiar and agreeable, and on the other, what is concealed and kept out of sight” (“The ‘Uncanny” 224-5). While it might be tempteing to conclude that the word “unheimlich” is the opposite of “heimlich,” as Freud points out, the relation between these ideas “is not capable of inversion” (219). Thus, Freud begins the rather tricky endeavour of trying to define a term which defies definition, for as Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle argue, “To try to define the uncanny is immediately to encounter one of its decisive paradoxes, namely that ‘the uncanny’ has to do with a troubling of definitions, with a fundamental disturbance of what we think and feel” (emphasis original, 36). The uncanny has to do with “a sense of strangeness, mystery or eeriness,” and more particularly, “it concerns a sense of  91  unfamiliarity which appears at the very heart of the familiar, or else a sense of familiarity which appears at the very heart of the unfamiliar. The uncanny is not just a matter of the weird or spooky, but has to do more specifically with a disturbance of the familiar” (Bennet and Royle 36). While Freud identifies several types of feelings of the uncanny, the crux of his argument is perhaps that “the uncanny is that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar” (“The ‘Uncanny” 220), or, more precisely (borrowing from Schelling), “everything is unheimlich that ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light” (225). For Freud, feelings of the uncanny are rooted in the revival of infantile complexes repressed in the psychological development of the child or in the resurgence of previously surmounted “primitive” beliefs, such as the belief in the omnipotence of thoughts or “magical thinking,” which he understands as the conviction that thoughts have a direct impact on external reality. Repetition, and especially the feeling of déjà vu, is a key aspect of the uncanny, which also involves “a kind of duplicity (both doubling and deception) within the familiar” (emphasis original, Bennett and Royle 42). The double is also key to Freud’s understanding of the uncanny, for, according to Freud’s essay, “the double is paradoxically both a promise of immortality (look, there’s my double, I can be reproduced, I can live forever) and a harbinger of death (look, there I am, no longer me here, but there: I am about to die, or else I must be dead already). The notion of the double undermines the very logic of identity” (Bennett and Royle 41). The double – defined by Otto Rank as a mirror self who threatens the boundaries of the ego and becomes, in Freud’s words “the uncanny harbinger of death” (“The ‘Uncanny” 234) – derives its potency from  92  infantile narcissism. According to Rank in his 1914 study The Double, the theme of the double has longstanding connections with mirrors, shadows, guarding spirits, the belief in the soul and the desire for immortality. Rank argues that the double in both literature and anthropology is related to narcissism, self love and the ego’s desire to escape death. As the idea of death is painful to our psyche, the double is a projection of the self in an attempt to ‘cheat’ eternal destruction. Freud claims that: [T]he “double” was originally an insurance against the destruction of the ego, an “energetic denial of the power of death”, as Rank says; and probably the “immortal” soul was the first “double” of the body....The same desire led the Ancient Egyptians to develop the art of making images of the dead in lasting materials. Such ideas, however, have sprung from the soil of unbounded selflove, from the primary narcissism which dominates the mind of the child and of primitive man. But when this stage has been surmounted, the “double” reverses its aspect. From having been an assurance of immortality, it becomes the uncanny harbinger of death. (“The ‘Uncanny’” 233-4) Freud, however, claims that such explanations do not adequately account for the extraordinary sense of uncanniness that pervades the concept of the double. He claims that, “our knowledge of pathological mental processes enables us to add that nothing in this more superficial material could account for the urge towards defence which has caused the ego to project that material outward as something foreign to itself” (“The ‘Uncanny” 235). The double’s “quality of uncanniness” can only come from the fact that the double is a “creation dating back to a very early mental stage, long since surmounted,” so its return is  93  also a return of “primitive” beliefs overcome by modern man, feelings that ought to have remained hidden but have come to light (Freud, “The ‘Uncanny’” 235). Freud attributes the modern sense of the ‘double,’ a type of psychic splitting, to humankind’s advanced capacity for self-observation. He claims that in the later stages of the ego’s growth, a special agency with the capacity to oversee the rest of the ego develops in order to exercise a degree of control over the actions of the subject, in what might be called the ‘conscience.’ In pathological cases, this mental agency becomes isolated, “dissociated from the ego,” which renders it possible “to invest the old idea of a ‘double’ with a new meaning and to ascribe a number of things to it—above all, those things which seem to selfcriticism to belong to the old surmounted narcissism of earliest times” (“The ‘Uncanny’” 234). As Freud would have it, the uncanny is the anxiety associated with the breakdown of borders, which results in the loss of the self as subject. As critics like Julia Kristeva and Nicholas Royle have shown, the uncanny above all has to do with the experience of indistinct borders, particularly the border between ‘self’ and ‘other’. The experience of the uncanny is in many ways related to a border-crossing, a blurring of boundaries (between the familiar and strange, the self and other, reality and fantasy). According to Royle, “the uncanny...has to do with a sense of ourselves as double, split, at odds with ourselves” (The Uncanny 6). Royle claims that the uncanny involves feelings of uncertainty, “in particular regarding the reality of who one is and what is being experienced. Suddenly one’s sense of oneself (of one’s so-called ‘personality’ or ‘sexuality’, for example) seems strangely questionable” (1). As such, the uncanny is “a crisis of the proper: it entails a critical disturbance of what is proper (from the Latin proprius, ‘own’)” (1). The uncanny  94  experience of the strange within the familiar has the power to contaminate categories and challenge the border between self/other, “I”/“not-I”, proper/improper. Stevenson makes uncanniness the central force of horror in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There is said to be something uncanny about Edward Hyde, something “queer” (65) or inexplicably off with him. We are first introduced to Hyde by Utterson’s long-time friend, Richard Enfield, who claims to have “taken a loathing to [the] gentleman at first sight” (Stevenson 33). Of course, this is after Hyde is said to have rather disturbingly trampled calmly over a child’s body in the street, so it is no surprise that Enfield and the other witnesses feel anger and disdain towards him. What is surprising to Enfield, however, is the reaction to Hyde of the doctor attending to the injured child; he is said to “turn sick and white with desire to kill him” every time he looks at Hyde (33). Despite Hyde’s repulsiveness, he is “not easy to describe” (35). Enfield tells Utterson: There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No sir; I can make no hand of it; I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment. (35-6) This inexplicable sense of deformity associated with Hyde is described by other characters as well. The maid who witnesses the murder of Sir Danvers Carew describes Hyde as “particularly wicked-looking” (47) without specifying why, and Jekyll’s servant Poole states that “there was something queer about that gentleman – something that gave a man a turn  95  – I don’t know rightly how to say it, sir, beyond this: that you felt it in your marrow kind of cold and thin” (65). These accounts of Hyde remind us that the uncanny is “an experience” or “an effect” and also an affect that is difficult to describe (Bennett and Royle 42, 43). Hyde is “uncanny” because Hyde is “really” Jekyll – or perhaps vice versa – and although the two are noticeably different in appearance (Hyde is small, pale and dwarfish in contrast to tall and stately Jekyll), those who encounter Hyde cannot escape the sensation that there is something familiar in his unfamiliar person. The desire to behold the unknown face of Hyde comes to consume Utterson, whose imagination becomes “engaged or rather enslaved” by a “singularly strong, almost an inordinate, curiosity to behold the features of the real Mr. Hyde” (Stevenson 39). Utterson, as lawyer and interpreter of documents and letters, attempts to read and thus decode the mystery of Edward Hyde. He first encounters Hyde as “but a name of which he could learn no more,” the unknown heir and benefactor named by Jekyll in his holograph will (37). Utterson feels that if “he could but once set eyes on him,” the “mystery would lighten and perhaps roll together all away, as was the habit of mysterious things when well examined” (39). Yet, as Garrett notes, when Utterson at last sees Hyde face-to-face, the effect of indescribability “is not removed by intensified” (65). Utterson struggles to find the words to describe the figure and character of Mr. Hyde, who Utterson describes as “pale and dwarfish” (Stevenson 41), “hardly human” and “troglodytic” (42), but these terms cannot describe “the unknown disgust, loathing and fear” experienced by Utterson in the face of Hyde’s “impression of deformity without any nameable malformation” (41). Utterson can only assert that he has read “Satan’s signature upon a face” (42), a sentiment echoed by  96  Jekyll in his statement when he says that upon Hyde’s face “evil was written broadly and plainly” (79). In much the same way as his person, Hyde’s signature and handwriting come to perplex and stifle the interpretative acts of readers. In the chapter “Incident of the Letter,” Jekyll gives Utterson a letter “written in an odd, upright hand and signed ‘Edward Hyde,’” charging him with the task of interpretation (51). Castricano points out that this letter “becomes the object of analysis by no less than three readers and each of their interpretive claims reveals a bias” (“Much Ado about Handwriting” par.5). Utterson, believing that he possesses “a murderer’s autograph,” shows the letter to his friend Mr. Guest, “a great student and critic of handwriting,” who “would scarce read so strange a document without dropping a remark” (Stevenson 53). Guest determines that the writer is “not mad” but possesses “an odd hand” (53), to which Utterson adds, “‘And by all accounts a very odd writer’” (53). To these two readers Castricano identifies a third - the narrator who seems to confirm the view that the letter is indeed “odd.” And yet, as Guest comes to discover, this “odd” writing strangely resembles that of Jekyll, whose writing is almost “identical: only differently sloped” (53). This illustrates Ronald Thomas’ claim that “Hyde is from the outset the product of Jekyll’s pen,” beginning his existence as the chemical formula written by Jekyll in his notebook and existing as sustained by the banknotes and account books Jekyll writes for him (78).  97  2.2 The Tenuous ‘I’ of Dissociative Narrative This focus on letters and scenes of reading illustrates the particular “literary” quality of both the uncanny and the discourse of dissociation. According to Bennett and Royle, “the uncanny is especially relevant to the study of literature... [as it] has to do with how the ‘literary’ and the ‘real’ can seem to merge into one another” (37). For Bennett and Royle, this relationship is twofold: On the one hand, uncanniness could be defined as occurring when “real”, everyday life suddenly takes on a disturbingly “literary” or “fictional” quality. On the other hand, literature itself could be defined as the discourse of the uncanny: literature is the kind of writing which most persistently and most provocatively engages with the uncanny aspects of experience. (37) This last point is highlighted by Freud in “The ‘Uncanny,’” which is largely focussed on literature, particularly Hoffman’s “The Sand-Man.” Freud claims that Hoffman repeatedly employed the uncanny “with success” in his “fantastic” narratives (“The ‘Uncanny’” 227). Freud asserts that “Hoffmann is the unrivalled master of the uncanny in literature” (233), and his reading of Hoffman is used to illustrate his point that feelings of uncanniness are often rooted in infantile complexes, like the castration complex, or infantile beliefs, such as the desire to see one’s dolls come to life. Although Freud claims that “The uncanny as it is depicted in literature, in stories and imaginative productions, merits in truth a separate discussion” (emphasis original, 249), he continues to interweave literature and case histories throughout his essay. His final pronouncement is that the uncanny in literature offers “a much more fertile province than the uncanny in real life, for it contains the whole  98  of the latter and something more besides, something that cannot be found in real life” (249). Freud’s admixture of “fiction” and “real life” reveals his somewhat paradoxical view of the relationship between the two, for, on the one hand, “the realm of phantasy depends for its effect on the fact that its content is not submitted to reality-testing” so that “in the first place a great deal that is not uncanny in fiction would be so if it happened in real life”; on the other hand, “there are many more means of creating uncanny effects in fiction than there are in real life” (emphasis original, 249). Thus, Freud feels compelled to consider literature germane to his discussion of the uncanny while, at the same time, admitting “[w]e have drifted into this field of research half involuntarily” (251). If Freud has only “involuntarily” wandered into the field of aesthetics, we might ask, along the same lines as Royle, what we make of Freud’s use of ‘he’ rather than ‘I’ in the opening lines of his essay. Here, Freud claims that, It is only rarely that a psycho-analyst feels impelled to investigate the subject of aesthetics, even when aesthetics is understood to mean not merely the theory of beauty but the theory of the qualities of feeling. He works in other strata of mental life and has little to do with the subdued emotional impulses which, inhibited in their aims and dependent on a host of concurrent factors, usually furnish the material for the study of aesthetics. (“The ‘Uncanny’” 219) Royle highlights that the author seems confident and self-assured: “He appears to know what it is to be a psychoanalyst and what sort of work he does” (The Uncanny 7). But, as Royle asks,  99  what is happening when someone begins a text by referring to himself in the third person? And what is at stake in this curious reference to being “impelled” to write on a strange subject? The opening of Freud’s essay presents us with someone who has found himself in an unfamiliar place or someone who, apparently without quite knowing why, has chosen to venture into such a place. Do we believe him? “Him”, who? (The Uncanny 7) Royle reads “Freud” as multiple, split and proliferating, writing a text with an uncertain addressee: “the implied reader, after all, is neither a student of aesthetics nor a student of psychoanalysis” (The Uncanny 26). Thus, in the act of introducing the topic of the uncanny, Freud experiences the uncanny sensation of the ‘strange’ within the ‘familiar,’ the experience of the ‘other’ within the ‘self’ as his strange ‘he’ suggests he is not a subject in control of ‘his’ own thoughts and words. Interestingly, Bennett and Royle claim that this piece illustrates that there were “two Freuds” or “a kind of double-Freud”: Freud’s “The ‘Uncanny’” provides what is perhaps the most dramatic and stimulating manifestation of these two Freuds. On the one hand there is the Freud who believes (and in some sense needs to believe) that literature and psychoanalysis can be simply and clearly separated off from each other, and that psychoanalysis can significantly contribute towards a scientific and objective understanding of literary texts. On the other hand there is the Freud who shows (often only inadvertently) that the “literary” is stranger and more disturbing than psychoanalysis, science or rationalism in general may be able or willing to acknowledge. (Emphasis original, 41)  100  That this “double-Freud” should be writing on the uncanny and doubles illustrates the ways in which uncanniness can be manifested as a textual effect in addition to a theme, for Freud is perhaps experiencing the uncanny as he is examining it. What is especially fascinating about Freud’s essay for Bennett and Royle, “is the way in which it prompts us to ask various questions about boundaries and limits: How much of Freud’s essay is psychoanalysis and how much is literature? Where does reason become imagination and imagination reason? Where does science become fiction and fiction science?” (emphasis original, 40). Like Žižek’s Mobius Strip, Freud’s essay indiscernibly slips from psychoanalysis into literature and from aesthetics into science and back again, calling into question the “pure” status of either. Bennett and Royle claim Freud’s decision to focus on literature is odd since “Freud wrote comparatively little that could be described as literary criticism or literary theory,” and in deciding to do so, Freud “was opening up a very strange can of worms” (40); however, as Michelle Massé asserts, “the connection between literature and psychoanalysis is as old as psychoanalysis itself” (229). For the psychoanalytic critic, the elements, structures and themes that constitute the literary text “speak to the desires and fears of both authors and readers” alike, so “Freud and others in psychoanalysis’s first generation drew upon literature both for examples of psychoanalytic insight and as prior statements of what they themselves were struggling to understand” (Massé 229). In Freud: A Life for Our Time (1988) Peter Gay claims that Freud occasionally read mystery novels, a practice that Anne Williams claims is reflected in his own psychoanalytic writings, and especially in his preferred genre: the case study. Williams writes,  101  [T]here is a clear affinity between his own case histories and the structure of the classic detective story: the analyst/detective observes the visible phenomena and interprets and reinterprets them in light of a causal pattern as it slowly emerges. Faced with a mass of heterogeneous, often deceptive, and apparently disconnected evidence, the detective eventually constructs a story that accounts for all these facts, by organizing them into a meaningful and coherent whole. (244) For Williams, the case history “is almost as blatantly The Mysteries of Udolpho” (243). In these histories, Freud acts like “a first-person narrator in the character of ‘Doctor Freud,’” a narrator “who constantly has his eye on the audience, who relates his story in as self-conscious a fashion as Trollope or Thackeray” (243). Furthermore, Freud made use of poetry and classical myth to name his theories and develop his metaphors of psychoanalysis. He declared that “the poets” had discovered the unconscious before him, and Oedipus, Narcissus and Eros “received a new incarnation” in “the Freudian oeuvre” (Williams 244). At times Freud was rather transparent about psychoanalysis’s debt to literature: he referred to Totem and Taboo as a “scientific fantasy” and received the Goethe Prize for literature44 in 1930 (Williams 244). Williams labels Freud “a Gothic ‘novelist,’” claiming that he is most “Gothic” at the level of metaphor: “Not only did he write of the Wolf Man and the Rat Man, of hysteria and obsessions, of nightmares and daydreams, of Eros and Thanatos – all part of the paraphernalia of Gothic; his entire theory of mind, developed through the multitudinous pages of his collected works, conceives of the self as a 44  The Goethe Prize is not limited to writers of fiction. It is awarded to individuals "whose creative activity served to honor the memory of Goethe" (Gale Dictionary of Psychoanalysis). The award, however, demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of Freud’s writings as the previous recipients (Stefan George, Albert Schweitzer and Leopold Ziegler) had been a mixture of philosophers, scientists and poets.  102  structure, a ‘house’ haunted by history, by past deeds –both one’s own and those of one’s ancestors” (244). This sense of “the self as a structure” is reflected in Jekyll’s wish to “house” his divergent personalities in separate bodies, and this terminology comes to inform one of the most sensational accounts of “a house divided against itself” (Prince 187) at the end of the nineteenth century: Morton Prince’s Dissociation of a Personality. The powerful influence of Stevenson’s text on the discourse of dissociation is strikingly apparent in the work of American physician and psychologist Morton Prince. Rieber credits Prince with pioneering “the phenomenon of popularizing MPD as embodied in a spectacular case” (86). Prince’s Dissociation of a Personality (1905) tells the story of Miss Christine Beauchamp, a pseudonym for Clara Norton Fowler, who, according to Prince, “is a person in whom several personalities have become developed” (1). The most developed of these personalities is Sally, whose child-like tricks and taunting letters come to convince Miss Beauchamp that she is “possessed by a devil” (129). Prince’s book “enjoyed enormous success” and captured the public imagination, which Rieber claims aroused public interest in psychopathology: “The book was an immediate sensation and it stirred considerable interest in psychology among the general reader, as evidenced by the response in the popular press” (87). In much the same way as Stevenson’s Strange Case inspired countless plays, Miss Beauchamp’s odd tale was so compelling that “no less than five hundred plays” based on the case were written by aspiring playwrights (Rieber 88). One effort, entitled “The Case of Becky,” actually made it to the Broadway stage and became a hit (Rieber 88). In March of 1906 the magazine Academy called Prince’s book “more interesting than any novel,” and most reviews “couldn’t help remarking on its similarity to  103  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (Rieber 87). One reviewer for The New York Times called it “a chronicle of facts, and in certain features, a realization in actual life of the old fairy tale of the bewitched, long-slumbering maiden who was awakened by a Prince” (qtd. in Rieber 87). The Boston Herald, on the other hand, did not consider Prince’s patient so unusual at all: “Miss Beauchamp is simply ourselves ‘writ larger’; ourselves passed on to a stage of chronic mental disease” (qtd. in Marks 121). Rieber claims that the medical establishment of the day did not share the public’s enthusiasm for Miss Beauchamp: “The Medical Journal of New York City, for instance, called it ‘a curious borderland study in the shadowy realm of the subconscious [and] hypnotic suggestion” (88). Prince positions himself in much the same way as Utterson, acting as “Mr. Seek” in his “Hunt for the Real Miss Beauchamp,” the story of whom is revealed through a series of letters written between personalities that Prince must record and decode. He begins his study by stating, “Aside from the psychological interest of the phenomena, the social complications and embarrassments resulting from this inconvenient mode of living would furnish a multitude of plots for the dramatist or sensational novelist,” as “Miss Beauchamp is an example in actual life of the imaginative creation of Stevenson” (Prince 2). Throughout the text Prince makes numerous references to drama and literature, referring to himself as a narrator and “Recording Angel”45 (117), who “will let [his] notebook tell the story” (199). Much of the text is comprised of letters: letters within letters, letters left from one personality to another, letters from Sally or Miss Beauchamp to Dr. Prince, and letters which demonstrate the switch from one personality to another in the act of the writing. In  45  In Christian doctrine, this is the angel receiving the souls in heaven.  104  this way, Prince’s text comes to reflect Stevenson’s, in which, as Jodey Castricano puts it, “readers abound and so do letters” (“Much Ado about Handwriting” par. 5). For Prince, the letters come to reveal the character of the writers; Sally’s letters reveal her immaturity and childlike disposition as she teases Miss Beauchamp, telling her that she has hidden her things and squandered her money, and, perhaps worst of all, that Dr. Prince “is utterly disgusted” with her (Prince 128). Sally’s letters are riddled with juvenile mistakes, such as her claim that Miss Beauchamp’s case “was very interesting ‘psychology,’” which Prince tells us is a common mistake: “Sally meant to use the adjective, but always found it too much either to pronounce or write” (106). And while the tone and spelling mistakes reveal this letter to be the work of Sally, “the handwriting alone was [Miss Beauchamp’s]” (106). Despite Myers’s earlier instance that the handwriting of different personalities “is not and cannot be the same,” it would seem the case of Miss Beauchamp reveals otherwise. Intriguingly, the story of Miss Beauchamp’s interactions with Sally seems in many ways to parallel those of Jekyll and Hyde. Miss Beauchamp is tormented by Sally’s tricks and deceits, which at times seem to border on the monstrous. In addition to making Miss Beauchamp tear up her money and say and do things against her will, Sally once left her a box of spiders wrapped up like a gift, knowing that Miss Beauchamp has “a nervous antipathy to spiders” and “abhors them to a degree that contact with them throws her into a condition of terror” (Prince 161). These acts lead Miss Beauchamp to write “I am afraid ... of everything now – of myself most of all” (134). Sally for her becomes “Satan himself” (134), a “demon” inside (147), and a “demon of mischief” that she tries to “cast out” with “fasting and vigil” so that it will cease to “rul[e her] as it will” (107). Sally writes letters in the  105  guise of Miss B., leaving a trail of confusion and torment in her wake. In one rather disturbing scene, we see Sally take over Miss Beauchamp while engaged in the act of writing. Prince claims: “Her tone was pleading and her manner nervous and agitated. She gave the impression of struggling against some controlling force, — something that was taking possession of her brain and muscles against her will. The expression of her face was worried and depressed; her movements halting and jerky” (122). Prince interprets her repeated plea of “don’t let me go” to mean “out of the room” (122), but it seems equally likely that this plea refers to her consciousness as well. As Sally takes over Miss Beauchamp’s body, her nervous manner disappears, her face, voice and movements all become those of someone else (122). Such a scene recalls the transformation of Hyde into Jekyll witnessed by Lanyon, where Hyde is said to cry, reel and stagger as “a change” comes over his face and body (76). Much like the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is revealed by multiple narrators, the ‘case’ composed not of chapters “but of ten disparate documents identified only as letters, incidents, cases, and statements” (Thomas 75), the story of Miss Beauchamp, Sally and the eventual additional personalities is also presented as a “drama of letters” (Castricano, “Much Ado about Handwriting” par. 9). In these letters, the personalities struggle with pronominal markers. Neither Sally nor Miss Beauchamp will use the first person pronoun to discuss the other, so that “she” and “her” come to denominate these various aspects of the same writing body. Such an unpredictable and shifting narrative is characteristic of dissociative narrative in general, as dissociative patients can be said to suffer from a lack of self-cohesion. Elizabeth Howell writes that “The ‘self’ is plural,  106  variegated, polyphonic, and multivoiced. We experience an illusion of unity as a result of the mind’s capacity to fill in the blanks and to forge links” (38). This process of linking and connecting mental states to each other is achieved by forging “links to other people, often by narration” (47). Lawrence Kirmayer suggests that as our memory is full of gaps and holes, so “we must work ... to close the gaps and mend the ruptures in experience” (104). We do this in part through the process of narration. The fragmentary meanings of isolated events are “woven into narratives that describe our motives, aims, and relationships both in accounts of immediate circumstances and in the longer stories that span a lifetime” (104). Kirmayer claims that these narratives are then told to others in a process of exchange that solidifies social reality. We weave together our experiences in order to discover meaning and “[t]hese meanings, in turn, are based on the narratives by which we identify our selves and our place in the world. These narratives have their origin in the need to give an account of our actions to others and so they depend on socially sanctioned forms of explanation and self-depiction” (Kirmayer 104). For Kirmayer, self-consciousness functions by its use of narrative to bridge dissociative gaps and to weld together a sense of self-continuity in order to construct “a socially credible personhood” (104). The importance of narrative in fostering these links in dissociative patients was recognised by Prince, as well as Janet, Breuer and Freud. In order to treat Miss Beauchamp and integrate Sally into a more unified subject, Prince asked Sally to compose an “autobiography,” the value of which for Prince “lies in the description of a dissociated mind, and of the alleged cleavage of consciousness dating back to early childhood” (393). By locating the origin of this “cleavage” in consciousness, Prince could learn of the events  107  which led to the creation of Sally as a separate personality for Christine. A decade earlier, Freud and Breuer had employed a similar strategy in their treatment of hysteric 46 patients. In the course of their investigation into the aetiology of hysterical symptoms, Freud and Breuer found that hysterical symptoms would disappear when the accompanying memory was brought into consciousness and “the patient had described that event in the greatest possible detail and had put the affect into words” (emphasis original, Studies on Hysteria 6). During the course of their treatment of Anna O, they found that she got better when she ‘talked herself out,’ and they thus developed what Anna would aptly name the “talking cure.” Pierre Janet may have been the earliest psychotherapist to use narrative in order to treat dissociative patients. In attempting to bridge the cleavage in consciousness he thought to be characteristic of hysteria, Janet used the practice of automatic writing to help hysterical patients “perceive and express ideas they could not account for previously” (The Major Symptoms of Hysteria 282). Janet believed that the process of distracted or automatic writing tapped into the subconscious aspects of personality, and through the act of writing, a bridge between selves could be made, helping personality to become harmonised and integrated. Janet posited a unique connection between memory, dissociation and narration. He stated that memory “is an action: essentially, it is the action of telling a story” (emphasis original, qtd in Howell 57). Janet believed that individuals gain their sense of self by telling a coherent story of their life. He saw memory as a creative act in which a person categorises events and assimilates them into a cognitive scheme. In a 46  Breuer and Freud shared Janet’s belief that hysteria was the result of a traumatic or overwhelming experience left unassimilated from the memories of the habitual self. Whereas Breuer and Freud thought of this lack of assimilation in terms of repression or an active “forgetting,” Janet thought of it in terms of dissociation or the development of a separate and unique memory cluster, which resulted in the creation of separate personalities.  108  healthy subject the memory system works harmoniously so that emotions, thoughts and actions are assessed and integrated into a unitary consciousness that is under voluntary control. However, the overwhelming emotions brought on by a traumatic event prevent normal assimilation, so traumatised persons are unable to associate the memory of the event with the rest of their memoires, resulting in dissociation (Howell 56). Janet recognised that traumatised people are unable to tell their stories in words, so by using automatic writing, the patient was able to join the dissociated memory with her other memories and heal the “cleavage” in consciousness. As critics like Ronald Thomas and Peter Garrett have noted, the absence of a coherent self in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is reflected in the text’s narrative structure so that “on the level of narration, we find neither unity nor purified duality but a complex weave of voices” (Garrett 67). Although Garrett and Thomas are referring to the overall structure of the text, the same can be said of Henry Jekyll’s autobiographical “Full Statement of the Case.” The account of Jekyll contains many of the elements that are common to the accounts of dissociative patients: an inability to view the self holistically, a refusal to accept alter personalities as part of the ‘I,’ and an unpredictable and unstable use of pronouns. Yet, Jekyll’s writing yields none of the salutary effects endorsed by Janet and Prince; rather, the ‘I’ of Jekyll’s autobiography begins to disintegrate and splinter into pieces that are unrecognisable as either Henry Jekyll or Edward Hyde. Jekyll’s account begins as a typical autobiography might, with the date of his birth and a linear presentation of the events that mark the appearance of his second self and his decline into misery. But unlike a typical autobiography, which seeks to “construct a unitary and autonomous subjectivity” (Danahay,  109  A Community of One 10), Jekyll’s autobiography stresses the divisions within his self. It is interesting to note that Jekyll speaks of a “trench” that severs the elements which make up the complex subjective whole. Although he ascribes a moral dimension to these elements – “those provinces of good and ill” (78) – his use of the word “trench” points to Janet’s theories of dissociation and hysteria as a “cleavage” in the self, the result of which is the formation of different personality clusters/personalities. Unlike most dissociative patients, Jekyll is aware, to borrow a phrase from Prince, that his is “a house divided against itself” (187) and seeks to make the divide permanent by “hous[ing]” each personality “in [a] separate identity[y],” to “dissociat[e]” the “continuously struggling” “polar twins” that were “bound together – in the agonised womb of consciousness” (Stevenson 79). This act of selfdivision by chemical means results in the projection of Hyde from psychic elements into bodily form, albeit this is a body he still shares with Jekyll, despite its modifications in stature. As Gish highlights, “although it may seem that Hyde’s embodiment in a smaller, younger, paler, and frightening self places it in a separate category as demonic or simply hallucinatory, many multiples experience their bodies in very different ways—in size, age, gender and physical ability” (5). Sally, for example, presents herself as younger than Miss Beauchamp, and B IV (or “the Idiot,” as Prince calls her) experiences herself as healthier than Miss Beauchamp and in many ways more mature. And Prince notes throughout the text that the various personalities demonstrate different mannerisms, postures, facial expressions and tones of voice to such an extent that he can determine who he is dealing with based on appearance alone.  110  As a tradition, autobiography rests on an assumption that the speaking and writing subject is a “sovereign subject,” an individual subject that is self-governed and selfcontrolled (Danahay, A Community of One 12). Sidonie Smith claims that Western autobiography flourished because of the notion that there is a unified and unique ‘self’ to represent and rests upon the “conviction that ‘I,’ the speaking subject, has a single, stable referent” (18). Yet, as Thomas notes, “[t]he act of self narration is revealed in Jekyll and Hyde to be a ritual act of self-estrangement rather than the act of self-discovery that it purports to be in the case of a traditional autobiographical novel” (73). Thomas reads the end of The Strange Case as the “fragmenting of the self into distinct pieces with distinct voices” rather than “the bringing together of those pieces into some unified character who speaks with a single voice” (73). But what makes Jekyll’s narrative so intriguing in the context of dissociation studies is that we are not dealing with “distinct pieces with distinct voices”; rather, the voices tend to bleed into one another so that it becomes difficult to attribute any particular narrative to any particular speaker. Jekyll begins his “Statement” grounded in the seeming stability of the first person pronoun, viewing Hyde as an element of himself: “There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new ... I felt younger, lighter, happier in body” (Stevenson 80). Jekyll’s claims that “I knew myself” (80) and “This, too, was myself” (81) shortly give way to the use of “it” rather than “he” or “I,” the use of third-person distance in references to “Henry Jekyll” and “Edward Hyde,” and claims such as “He, I say – I cannot say, I” (90) in the descriptions of Hyde’s actions. Yet, when one might expect Jekyll to distance himself the most from Hyde – that is in his description of the murder of Carew – Jekyll narrates the event from the first-person  111  perspective: “Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged. With a transport of glee, I mauled the unresisting body, tasting delight from every blow” (Stevenson 87). These permutations of ‘I,’ ‘he,’ ‘it,’ ‘Henry Jekyll’ and ‘Edward Hyde’ are unpredictable, even for a subject prone to dissociations of personality. Even when Sally is asked to write an autobiography of her experience as a secondary self, she restricts her pronouns to ‘she’ and ‘I.’ It is perhaps telling that Lanyon’s command to the hysterical Hyde is “compose yourself”47 (Stevenson 75). Such a command indicates the importance of coherence in selfrepresentation and points to the treatment used by Janet in his work with hysterical patients. Janet maintained that hysteria is “a malady of the personal synthesis,” an inability of the subject to “compose” herself and tell a coherent story of her identity (emphasis original, Major Symptoms of Hysteria 332). Thus, the cure for this malady is to integrate the multiple sensations, perceptions, and memories which comprise one’s own experience and personality into a unified ‘I’. Kirmayer argues that “cultures differ in their tolerance for gaps in narratives, unmotivated events, happenings attributed to extrinsic agencies, and the radical shifts in perspective that accompany shifts in states of mind” (106-107). In the Western world, in order to achieve a “socially credible personhood,” dissociative gaps and contradictory states of self must be joined together by a narrative of self-continuity (Kirmayer 104). It would seem that Jekyll’s “Statement” is an attempt to “compose” himself and to construct the type of narrative demanded of him, not only as confession for his crimes but as explanation for his state of being. The pronominal shifting and uncertainty is  47  See Castricano “Much Ado about Handwriting” (2006) for more on the significance of this phrase.  112  perhaps to be expected, given the extent to which his two personalities take on lives of their own. What is perplexing about Jekyll’s “statement” is the strange ‘other’ who emerges at the end of his narrative. As he prepares to lay down his pen and seal up his confessions, Jekyll remarks “this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns another than myself” (Stevenson 93). If this is, as Jekyll claims, the moment where “the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll” is brought to “an end,” is this other Hyde, who Jekyll claims not to care about any longer? If it is Hyde, how is it that Jekyll comes to dissociate himself entirely from the figure who he once identified as “myself” (81)? Could it be that we are dealing with the development of a third personality, “an indeterminate figure who is neither” Jekyll nor Hyde (Garrett 63), a character who claims to reside “Between these two” (Stevenson 85)? It is this ambiguity that leads to Garrett to ask: “Who writes ‘Henry Jekyll’s Statement’?” (63). On the one hand, it seems that we are dealing with the strange self that emerges in the act of narrating or writing one’s story. Garret claims that the process of self-narration enacted in autobiography creates a split, rather than unified subject, a “doubling of the subject that is always produced by telling one’s story” (Garrett 63). In the same vein, Georges Gusdorf has said that “the image [produced in writing] is another ‘myself,’ a double of my being but more fragile and vulnerable, invested with a sacred character that makes it at once fascinating and frightening” (qtd. in Danahay, A Community of One 10). Yet, we are already dealing with a double in Jekyll’s narrative, the sometimes ‘I’ and sometimes ‘he’ of Edward Hyde. Prince notes that in response to the pressure of dealing with two disparate and seemingly incongruous personalities, Miss Beauchamp develops a third state, B III,  113  which was eventually followed by B IV. Until the emergence of B IV, Prince claims that the case of “who is the Real Miss Beauchamp” had been quite unproblematic: “the psychological problem had been comparatively simply. Two persons had been contending for the mastery of life ... but there had been no doubt about which was the Real Miss Beauchamp” (171). However, this “third person [who] came upon the scene; one whom we had never met before,” brought with her “new problems to be solved, and raised doubts about the identity and origin of our old friend,” Miss Beauchamp (Prince 171). We as readers are left feeling perplexed, much like Dr. Prince, about with whom we are engaging when this seemingly new persona emerges in Jekyll’s narrative. 2.3 Multiplicity and Masculinity The multiple selves that emerge in Jekyll’s narrative can perhaps be attributed to the “unmanning” quality of his experiences. Through its focus on aging professionals and lonely bachelors, the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde “is a story about communities of men” (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 69), bourgeois men, who, according to Andrew Smith, are represented “in a state of terminal decline” (37). This decline is represented, in part, in the failed attempt of Henry Jekyll to craft an autobiography. In his study of male autobiography in the nineteenth century, Martin Danahay illustrates how patriarchy, in its denial or repression of the feminine, demands that the male autobiographer create “a self-sufficient and autonomous self” in the act of writing or narration (A Community of One 15). For Danahay, Jekyll’s inability to say ‘I’ is a case of self-denial and a refusal to acknowledge, rather than an inability to explain, his connection with the self-centered Hyde (A Community of One 138). However, this inability to say ‘I’ also indicates that Jekyll’s position as  114  patriarchal subject has been compromised, for as Sidonie Smith and Luce Irigaray argue, the first-person pronoun is masculine. Smith, for example, argues that the autobiographical ‘I’ of a text traditionally marks it as a masculine creation (1). Similarly, in her work on psycholinguistics, Luce Irigaray posits that identity is enacted at least partly in self-positioning in language. In examining the difference between the “normal” (i.e. non-pathological) speech of men and that of women, Irigaray determined that, as Whitford puts it, “it is not a question of biology determining speech, but of identity assumed in language within a particular symbolic system known as patriarchy, and described by Lacan, in which the only possible subject position is masculine” (3). Irigaray argues that men are more likely to take up a subject position in language and to designate themselves as subjects of discourse and action, and thus, the use first person pronoun ‘I’ can be read as “masculine” (Whitford 4). The female subject, due to its multiple and fluid nature, cannot be represented by the masculine ‘I’; thus, the inference might then be drawn that to not be an ‘I’ is to not be a ‘man’ or a ‘subject’ proper. To be a ‘not I’, that is to be multiple and fragmentary as in the case of dissociative conditions, is to be abjectly aligned with the feminine. This is made apparent by not only Jekyll’s claim that his experiences are “unmanning” (Stevenson 56) but also in the way that Hyde is characterised as hysterical and overly emotional, traits primarily associated with females. Poole tells Utterson that he once “heard it a woman or a lost soul” (66), and Lanyon describes Hyde as “wrestling against the approaches of hysteria” (75) when he encounters Hyde in his home. These descriptions mark Hyde as somewhat of a ‘feminine’ force, if only because he poses a direct challenge to the autonomous and unified self demanded of masculine representation. It is perhaps  115  significant that Freud notes castration anxiety, which he relates to the fear of losing one’s eyes as presented in E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sand-Man,” is one of the most profoundly uncanny experiences a subject can undergo. He claims that “A study of dreams, phantasies and myths has taught us that anxiety about one's eyes, the fear of going blind, is often enough a substitute for the dread of being castrated” (“The ‘Uncanny’” 230). For the male subject, the fear of losing one’s manhood, and thus symbolically one’s masculinity, is the ultimate uncanny experience. The loss of the ‘eye’ accordingly parallels the loss of the ‘I’ as both terms convey the inherent power of the masculine subject position. Feminist critics, most notably Julia Kristeva, have interpreted the ‘not-I’ as the experience of the infant prior to its development as a unique and agentic subject. In Revolution in Poetic Language Kristeva develops her idea of the semiotic, which she believes is closely tied to the infantile pre-Oedipal stage referred to in psychoanalysis or the Lacanian pre-mirror stage in which the child does not distinguish itself as a being separate from its mother. For Kristeva, the semiotic is a state tied to the emotions and instincts, based in the prosodic experience of language before an understanding of the denotative meaning of words develops. Kristeva characterises this as a ‘feminine’ state that opposes the symbolic order (based on the work of Lacan), which is predicated upon the subject’s entrance into the world of linguistic communication, knowledge of ideological conventions and acceptance of the law (acceptance of the social order). In Does The Woman Exist?: From Freud’s Hysteric to Lacan’s Feminine Paul Verhaeghe argues that according to Lacan, subjectivity requires language, and language is masculine as it is grounded in the universal signifier of the Phallus. As Stacey Keltner puts it, the symbolic order “refers primarily to the  116  social and linguistic realm of law that legislates the subject’s relations to itself, others, and the socio-historical world” (24). This is the world of the male subject, who gains entrance via the Name-of-the-Father and the acceptance of the laws and restrictions that regulate desire and the rules of communication (denotative language, rules of grammar, etc). In Powers of Horror (1982) Kristeva discusses the ways in which the symbolic order creates a system of exclusion; these prohibitions act “as a means of separating out the human from the non-human and the fully constituted subject from the partially formed subject” (Creed 8). In this paradigm, the fully constituted subject must be unified and hermetic. Thus, the dissociative subject, the ‘not-I’, is the Other to the patriarchal subject, symbolically rendered feminine and non-human. Although Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is most often read as a tale of duality and duplicity in man, it is a text in which images of multiplicity abound. Peter Garrett claims that “Good and evil, higher and lower, spirit and matter, body and soul: such are the opposites from which Jekyll’s philosophical discourse is constructed, and which for many readers have determined the meaning of the whole tale” (60). These dualities, however, are destabilised by the presence of multiplicity in the text. We have multiple narrators, multiple perspectives and multiple letters; for example, Utterson is given an envelope in which three smaller envelopes are found, each one explaining another aspect of the case of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. There is the image of the fractured key, broken into pieces “much as if a man had stamped on it” (Stevenson 68). Jill Matus writes, “the image of the fractured key gives way to further images of breakdown and refraction” (175), for as Utterson and Poole force their way into Jekyll’s cabinet, they find a cheval glass, “into whose depths they  117  looked with an involuntary horror...the fire sparkling in a hundred repetitions along the glazed front of the presses, and their own pale and fearful countenances stooping to look in” (Stevenson 68). The mirror is said “to show them nothing” but their own reflections, significantly reflected alongside the image of the “fire sparkling in a hundred repetitions” (68). Matus claims, “The glass, which shows nothing but reflection, a multiplication of images, seems to presage the fracturing and multiplication of self that they not yet understand as the key to Jekyll’s case” (175). Matus reads the mirror as a symbol for Jekyll himself. Poole’s statement that “This glass has seen some strange things” is qualified by Utterson’s odd comment: “surely none stranger than itself” (Stevenson 68). For Matus, “the glass turns out to stand for Jekyll himself, who, like the mirror, has not only seen strange things, but is himself the strangest of them” (176). Interestingly, as Matus notes, the cheval glass was also referred to as “the Psyche”: “According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was so called because of Raphael’s full-length painting of the fabled Psyche” (176). Psyche, of course, is a term often used interchangeably with words like “mind,” “soul” and “spirit,” an association not entirely lost by the late nineteenth century. The word psychology is derived from the Greek word “soul discourse,” and many early psychologists believed that they were studying the movements and nature of the soul when they were studying the mind. Throughout the nineteenth century there is often a metaphysical or supernatural component to some theories of mind and studies of psychology, such as Frederick Myers’s quest to prove the survival of the human personality after death. The term “psyche,” however, also reflects the myth of Psyche, in which “duality or multiplicity replaces ‘unity’  118  or ‘oneness’ as the assumed (and privileged)” state of being (emphasis original, Williams 149). The myth of Psyche is a tale “of duality and transformation” (Williams 149). As Williams relates it, the story tells the tale of the beautiful Psyche, a girl so lovely that men began to worship her as the “new Aphrodite,” making the goddess jealous and vengeful. Aphrodite demands that Psyche be married to a hideous monster, but her son Eros takes pity on the girl and instead transports her to a mysterious castle to become his wife. Here, she lives a life of luxury, with only one rule to follow: she must never look on Eros, who comes to her at night and makes love to her in the darkness. After her jealous sisters convince her that she is really married to a monster, Psyche breaks this rule and gazes on Eros one night after he has fallen asleep. Eros flees, and Aphrodite once again projects her jealousy onto Psyche, assigning her four impossible tasks to complete or forever be separated from Eros. Psyche must sort a roomful of seeds into their various types in one day, gather golden wool from the fierce rams of the sun, collect water from a high waterfall, and lastly, descend into Hades and return with a box of Persphone’s beauty ointment. Faced with the impossibility of these tasks, Psyche continuously loses hope only to discover the help of others: in the first instance, the ants offer to help her sort the seeds; in the second, a reed whispers to her to collect the wool caught on the thorn-bushes after the rams have gone to river to drink; thirdly, an eagle carries her flask for her to the waterfall; and lastly, a tower tells Psyche how to carry out her task in Hades. In the end, she is reunited with Eros and made immortal by Zeus. Throughout her tasks, Psyche receives the help of others, countering the male myth of independent heroism and instead  119  demonstrating cooperation with others. For Williams, this is a feminine myth, one of the few in the Western tradition. The myth of Psyche represents multiplicity and cooperation in opposition to unity and “oneness,” an interpretation strengthened by the fact that throughout it all Psyche is pregnant with Eros’s child, making her not “truly one, but truly two.” Thus, “psyche,” which represents the prised (and typically ‘masculine’) qualities of “mind” and “soul” associated with reason, also represents femininity and multiplicity when the term is placed in its original mythological context. In the nineteenth century the possibility that the human psyche is fragmented and the self is unknowable undermines previous conceptions of the subject as the basis for knowing, understanding and the construction of knowledge. Psychopathology, psychical research, and Darwinian theory all present new models of the self as multiple and unpredictable, one that exceeds the typical Western (and largely Christian) binary oppositions that seek to place their meaning under a unified masculine deity. Whereas duality offered stability in a fixed system of binaries and oppositions (good/evil, dark/light, male/female, etc.), multiplicity presented a view of nature as erratic, disarrayed, unknowable and unfixable. Duplicity fits into previous dualistic models of organising reality brought about by Christianity and patriarchy, which sought to place all things on one side or the other of a binary. Reports of “second selves” and divided states of consciousness often confirmed rather than undermined the system of binaries inherent in these paradigms. As Tymms points out, the secondary personality that appeared in abnormal states of consciousness was usually found to be morally different from the ordinary personality of the waking state of consciousness, for it represented the suppressed impulses of the mind:  120  “It often happened that the secondary personality was consequently an almost entirely wicked counterpart of the normal self, and seemed to be identical with the bad self which traditionally lurks within, a hostile principle; or, if the bad traits had consciously triumphed in the man’s normal character, the suppressed unconscious self would probably be predominantly good in consequence” (42). In the same vein, John Herdman claims that the ideas which are articulated by means of the literary double are essentially moral and religious, and the psychological perspective cannot properly be separated from this content (x). This merging of an old dualistic ethical system with the phenomena reported by psychologists is brought out in nineteenth-century texts that explore double consciousness, where there is a motif of the hostile second self lurking in the unconscious mind — a threat from within to the guideline of reason and decency in the mind was also a threat to society. As reports of double consciousness gave way to reports of cases like Vivet’s, multiplicity and multiple personality became topics widely discussed. The possibility of multiple selves had far-reaching consequences for Victorian society, especially for religious questions. As Jill Matus claims, “Duality was less threatening than multiplicity because it could be understood in terms of the animal or corporeal being, on the one hand, and the spiritual being or soul, on the other” (172). Victorians were more comfortable admitting the possibility of duplex personality because it was at least consonant with religious ideology and accepted understandings of man’s duality. As Matus notes, “This discourse of duality is a discourse of superior and inferior parts of the self” (173): oppositions between good and evil, higher and lower, spirit and matter, soul and body, masculine and feminine form the basis of both Christian doctrine and patriarchal society. Multiplicity destabilises these easy  121  dualisms and opens up a number of uncharted, and possibly uncontrollable, areas of psychic and social life to speculation. In a letter to the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Thomas Barkworth argued that duplex personality was an allowable concept because the duality was to be understood in terms of animal or corporeal being, and spirit, but the concept of multiple personality was inadmissible because it appeared to assume that “the soul is a mere congeries of different conscious entities” without an “irreducible Ego” (60). Barkworth goes on to complain that the concept of multiple personality “assails the existence of a soul; for it splits up our psychical being into a number of co-ordinate personalities, each of them closely dependent on a special state of the nervous system” (61).  This assailment against the existence of a soul was compounded by Darwin’s  evolutionary model, which undermined the belief in human exceptionalism. William Paley’s famous “watchmaker analogy” suggested that design implies a designer. In considering the complexity of human beings and the structure of the universe, Paley argued that there simply must be an intelligent designer. As Michael Ruse puts it, The eye is like a telescope. Telescopes have telescope makers. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that eyes must have eye makers. God! The wonderful thing about [Paley’s] argument is that it does not simply prove God’s existence but points to his having some of the attributes that we traditionally associate with the Christian God. As hands and eyes and teeth and so forth are miracles of engineering, and clearly intended for our use and happiness, the Designer must himself be very clever and concerned about human welfare (not to mention the welfare of the other living  122  parts of his creation). Since we humans have the best of all adaptations, we must be the most favored by God. (253) Darwin’s theory of natural selection put forth in On the Origin of Species offered another possible explanation for the complexity of human design. Darwin posited that through the process of natural selection, the key mechanism of evolution, genetic traits become more or less pronounced from one generation to the next. As Ruse notes, Darwin did indeed believe that nature had a “designer,” but it was one “who worked at a distance through unbroken law.... The Darwin God can only do the best job possible given unbroken law – that is, given the making of organisms through evolution” (254). Darwin’s model suggested that although nature had a designer, it was a largely absent designer, one that created life and then left it to evolve as it would. Thus, ‘man’ was the product of natural selection, a descendent from a common ancestor shared by other primates, and not a figure created in God’s own image, as the Christian bible had suggested in the account of the Earth’s creation given in Genesis. Kelly Hurley claims that “Darwinism opened up a space wherein hitherto unthinkable morphic structures could emerge” (7). If nature was no longer the product and ward of the Divine Designer, God, what was there to regulate it? Additionally, Darwinian theory posed a direct threat to the fantasy of the stable Western European male subject by replacing a divinely-structured, male-controlled nature with an erratic and random feminine nature. While nature had long been personified as feminine in the discourse of science, by removing an over-seeing masculine deity from the equation, Darwin’s theory effected “no less than a decentering of the human subject, and the impact of this was much more significant for the male subject, who in nineteenth-century society culturally should embody  123  dominance, rationality, and power” (Hendershot 97). For the Baconian scientist of previous eras, a personified feminine nature could be controlled by the masculine scientist because of divine intervention. The scientist received his ability to “penetrate” nature from God (Bacon 36). Darwinism, however, placed the male scientist in the position of being created and controlled by a nature still personified as feminine, but one that the rational scientist could no longer control. As Hendershot explains it, in mid-nineteenth-century Britain the Baconian scientist revealing nature’s law is replaced by the Darwinian scientist “perplexed in the face of a nature beyond his understanding: nature is now a force that neither human rationality nor divine inspiration can explain” (97). According to Alvar Ellegard, the primary objection to Darwinian theory in nineteenth-century British popular and academic presses was related to Darwin’s removal of the supernatural from this theory of descent so that “what critics chiefly objected to was the randomness element in Darwin’s theory” (268). Darwin emphasises the false sense of wholeness that underlies the belief in divine creation: “it is only our natural prejudice, and that arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were descended from demigods, which leads us to demur to this conclusion” (Descent 33). Unlike the Baconian Scientist, the Darwinian scientist does not claim to be able to “penetrate” nature and reveal “her” secrets, yet he is haunted by what Cyndy Hendershot terms a metaphorical association of nature with the feminine. In On the Origin of Species Darwin attempts to move away from the persistent personification of nature in scientific models, stating, “it is difficult to avoid personifying the word Nature; but I mean by Nature, only the aggregate  124  action and product of many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events ascertained by us” (109). Nevertheless, Darwin does personify nature as feminine when he claims: Nature, if I may be allowed to personify the natural preservation or survival of the fittest, cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they are useful to any being. She can act on every internal organ, on every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life. Man selects only for his good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Each selected character is fully exercised by her, as is implied by the fact of their selection. (Emphasis added, Origin 111-12) Darwin presents a nature that, while personified as ‘feminine,’ cannot be mastered by man in the same way that Bacon suggests it can be by the divinely inspired scientist; rather, “he is created by and mastered by her. His attempts at selection are pale imitations of her successes” (Hendershot 99). Within the context of Darwinian science the male attempting to master nature finds himself increasingly controlled by a powerful, random and multiple feminine nature. According to Hendershot, “this rhetorical conception of nature affected male subjects and their perceptions of themselves as masterful and flawless” (99). In moving from a concept of a feminine nature penetrable and controllable by the male scientist to a concept of nature as beyond human understanding and control, Darwin’s theories contributed to the nineteenth-century fear that the sovereignty of the masculine subject was being compromised. Thus, as this discussion of Darwin’s view of nature suggests, the erratic and the multiple is perceived as threatening in the nineteenth century in part because it is coded as feminine. Multiplicity, as the Pythagorean paradigm of reality suggests, has long been  125  aligned with “evil” and “femininity” in the Western philosophical tradition. In This Sex Which is Not One Luce Irigaray argues that woman is multiple in nature because her sexuality is manifold; her genitals, unlike the unitary genitals of man, are formed of two lips: “Thus, within herself, she is already two” (24). But she is more than merely two as her erogenous zones are many, located everywhere and anywhere on her body. For Irigaray, woman, who does not have one sex, “cannot subsume it/herself under one term, generic or specific. Body, breasts, pubis, clitoris, labia, vulva, vagina, neck of the uterus, womb ... thwarts...reduction to any proper name, any specific meaning, any concept. According to Irigaray, woman “is not infinite, but nor is she one unit” (emphasis original, “Volume” 55). The result is that woman represents a mystery to a culture “claiming to count everything, to number everything by units, to inventory everything as individualities. She is neither one nor two. Rigorously speaking, she cannot be identified either as one person, or as two. She resists all adequate definition” (This Sex 26). As woman is dispersed into so many places, the pieces do not gather together in anything which she can recognise as her ‘self’ (“Volume” 53).  The fragmented and fractured nature of Woman as defined by Irigaray is not  recognisable as a subject, either by man or by woman. The Cartesian subject, still upheld as the ideal by most medical and scientific discourse in the nineteenth century, is unified through the act of thinking and a conscious awareness of self (cogito ergo sum). To be a fragmented and fractured subject, is to be aligned with the feminine. Thus, both Jekyll and Hyde bear traits of the feminine. Jekyll, through his fluid and multiple identity, can no longer identify himself as a comprehensive subject. His inability to say ‘I’ when speaking of himself suggests that more is at stake than his pronominal  126  confidence; this inability points to a radical collapse of his masculine identity, one that is exacerbated by Hyde’s association with hysteria. According to William Veeder, “despite all his ‘masculine’ traits of preternatural strength and animal agility, Hyde is prey to what the nineteenth century associated primarily with women” (qtd in Showalter, Sexual Anarchy 114). A wide range of criticism has shown that hysteria, given its etymological connotations, is a female disorder.48 Within the nineteenth-century imagination, hysteria was one main part of the larger category of dissociative phenomena. Pierre Janet related hysteric symptoms to the automatic activities of the mind, which were demonstrably shown in somnambulism. According to this model, dissociation of psychological functions was fundamental to the mechanism of hysteria; a loss of integration was thought to engender fixed ideas (idée fixes) and to lead to the development of a system totally isolated from the whole personality system (Nakatani 1). Janet believed that hysteria was a condition caused by a splitting (dédoublement) of the personality that in extreme cases could lead to the subject’s consciousness alternating between two (or more) selves, each of which is unaware of the other. Around the same time that Janet was developing his theory of dissociation, the case of Louis Vivet was drawing attention from the medical community in France. Vivet was a fascinating study as he displayed all of the extreme symptoms of hysteria that were commonplace among the females in Charcot’s ward at the Salpêtrière. According to Hacking, “Aside from conditions that explicitly require female reproductive organs, Vivet displayed virtually every type of bodily distress known to the language of hysteria”  48  See, for example, Peter Logan’s Nerves and Narratives: a Cultural History of Hysteria in NineteenthCentury British Prose (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), or Roger Luckhurst’s The Invention of Telepathy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).  127  (Rewriting the Soul 174). Even though the alleged first case of ‘multiple personality’ involves a male subject, through symptomatic and symbolic alignment, Vivet is a female subject. Thus, in defining hysteria as a dissociative phenomenon, Janet’s theory draws a parallel between femininity, dissociation and multiplicity. Elaine Showalter makes the provocative claim that madness, even when experienced by men, “is metaphorically and symbolically represented as feminine: a female malady” (Female Malady 4). For Showalter women, within Western society’s “dualistic systems of language and representation, are typically situated on the side of irrationality, silence, nature, and body, while men are situated on the side of reason, discourse, culture, and mind” (Female Malady 3-4). The result of this dichotomistic thinking, according to Shoshana Felman, is that men “appear not only as the possessors, but also as the dispensers, of reason, which they can at will mete out to – or take away from – others” (7). In aligning Jekyll/Hyde with multiplicity, irrationality, failed discourse and a gross corporeality, Stevenson’s novella suggests that the horror of Jekyll’s disintegration is rooted in the feminine. Stevenson’s Strange Case has remained popular with readers and critics alike since its first appearance in the late nineteenth century. This sustained popularity reveals the power of narratives of dissociation. Fin-de-siècle cases of psychic fracturing were intriguing not only to psychologists and clinicians interested in exploring the depths of human consciousness; these cases also provided writers of literature with potent symbols for the representation of identities in flux. As the late-Victorian era saw an ever-changing social landscape, the typical markers of identity – gender, sexuality, class, race, nationality – seemed to be unstable. Discussions of mental, physical and social degeneration presented  128  the possibility that seemingly “normal” individuals could be concealing madness, perversion and criminality, a possibility that Stevenson’s text makes explicit in the figure of Henry Jekyll. In creating the character of Jekyll/Hyde, Stevenson created an icon for the experience of self-division. It is perhaps no wonder, then, that this poignant representation of inner turmoil and identity confusion has had such a significant impact on clinical accounts of dissociative experience.  129  Chapter 3: Manliness, Mesmerism and Empire in Richard Marsh’s The Beetle I do not know if one can will evil as powerfully as good. If this were so, should not one fear the effects of 49 animal magnetism in the hands of dishonest men? All subjugate themselves to the magnetizer. They may seem satisfied to be in an apparent state of drowsiness, but his voice or a look or sign from him will draw them out. One cannot help but note in these consistent effects a great power that moves the patients and masters them. The result is that the magnetizer seems to be their absolute ruler. 50 “When my brain says ‘Come!’ to you, you shall cross land or sea to do my bidding.”51  Scientists and writers in the nineteenth century who were interested in dissociative phenomena like double consciousness and multiple personality were also intrigued by practices such as mesmerism and hypnotism as they too revealed “the porousness of the mental apparatus” (Thurschwell 37) and the instability of personal identity. While spontaneously occurring disturbances in personality such as those of Louis Vivet were disturbing to many Victorians, mesmerism and its associated practices were perceived as downright dreadful for they demonstrated the power that one individual could hold over another’s body and mind. In the dissociative state of mesmeric or hypnotic trance, the subject appeared to be bereft of volition and autonomy, unable to act independently from the will of the mesmerist. Perhaps most unsettling was the accompanying amnesia; upon awakening from the trance, the subject was almost never able to recall the events that had transpired during the trance state. Thus, to many it seemed as though the mesmerist held  49  Puységur, Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, marquis de. émoires pour server l’histoire et l’établissement du magnétisme animal. Paris: Dentu, 1784. At p. 39. 50 Bailly, Jean Sylvain. Rapport des commissaries charges par le roi de l’examen du magnétisme animal. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1784. At p. 8. 51 Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Peterborough: Broadview, 1998. At p. 328.  130  absolute power over the mesmerised subject, turning the sovereign individual into a living marionette that acts out the will of the mesmerist. Mesmerism, originally named animal magnetism, involved placing patients into a trance by making “passes” – motions of the hands – over their face and body. Its creator, Franz Anton Mesmer, maintained that the passes were “a therapeutic application of Newtonian philosophy, using the body’s own magnetic forces,” which he conceived of as an invisible magnetic fluid (Thurschwell 40). Critics who denied the existence of any physical agency renamed the practice mesmerism, a pejorative term that called attention to the central and “dangerously intimate” relation between the initiator of the trance and the entranced subject (Thurscwell 40). The practice of inducing trance would be renamed “hypnotism” by Manchester surgeon James Braid in the 1840s. Although Braid was influenced by the work of the magnetists, he believed trance to be a psychological rather than physiological state, and in contradistinction to most magnetists, Braid argued that a subject could not be placed into a trance against his or her will. Braid’s hypnotism made three important changes to the practice of animal magnetism: it denied the existence of magnetic fluid, removed the “passes” and the erotic undertones of their application to the patient, and undermined the “personal relationship between mesmerist and subject explicit in the claim that one person’s body, mind or will impinged on another’s” (Thurschwell 41). Braid was ultimately successful in his attempts to distinguish hypnotism from mesmerism, demonstrated by its use as an investigative tool and therapeutic aid by some of the leading  131  physicians and psychologists of the nineteenth century52 as well as the term’s continued popularity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mesmerism and its associated practices like hypnotism were often viewed with fear or disgust because of the perceived challenges they posed to the maintenance of individual and professional boundaries. The loss of individual identity is a recurring theme in countless discussions of mesmerism and hypnotism. As Sarah Gracombe notes, for many Victorians mesmerism’s most disturbing quality was the way that it troubled the notion of a stable, unified identity by suggesting that there were hidden, unconscious mental regions “that might contradict one’s own sense of self, a Mr. Hyde inside every sober, respectable Dr. Jekyll” (100). Even more disturbing, however, was the possibility that the mind might respond “to someone else’s will” (emphasis original, Gracombe 100). Elizabeth Barrett, for example, claimed that she shrank from “the idea of subjecting [her] will as an individual to the will of another” because this meant, as she states, “merging my identity (in some strange way which makes my blood creep to think of)” into that of someone else’s (Qtd. in Winter, Mesmerized 238). On one level, it is this erasure of individual boundaries that makes the practice of mesmerism unsettling for, as Julian Wolfreys notes, mesmerism transgresses boundaries between inner and outer, self and other, proper and improper; this is a practice that “devastate[s]...through the psychic erasure of the boundaries which one imposes on oneself as the necessary limits of self-definition,” whether one is speaking of  52  In France, neurologist Jean Martin Charcot, physiologist Charles Richet and psychologists Pierre Janet, Charles Fere, and Alfred Binet are examples of some of the many who used hypnotism in their practices. In England, psychical researchers like Sir William Barrett and Frederick Myers studied hypnotism and trance states. Perhaps most famously, Sigmund Freud used hypnotism early in his career (as outlined in Studies on Hysteria), but he later abandoned the practice as he developed the technique of free association and what would be termed “the talking cure.”  132  class-position, gender-scripts or national identity (Introduction 13). Similarly, David Zimmerman argues that practices like mesmerism and hypnotism “demonstrated that the hegemony of consciousness was tenuous, that under certain conditions other selves and other energies could usurp control of the mind, that there was a mechanism churning just below consciousness that might sometimes be given over to its own uncanny automatism” (62). On another level, mesmerism and hypnotism were perceived as unsettling because of the way these practices transgressed the boundaries between science, philosophy and fiction. Mesmerism’s scientific and medical legitimacy and efficacy was a topic of much debate, and as Wolfreys points out, “the mainstream medical profession sought on occasions to distance itself from a practice which, to some, had the patina of a sideshow entertainment,  or  otherwise  suggested  non-rational,  non-European  mysticism”  (Introduction 12). However, in the last few decades of the nineteenth century, hypnotism became a source of heated debate among medical men in Great Britain and Europe as the serious investigations by respected medical professionals like J.M. Charcot, Pierre Janet and others at the Salpêtrière finally sanctioned the study of hypnotic phenomena as a legitimate area of scientific research. For some, like Charcot, hypnosis offered an investigative tool, one that could be used to designate degeneration and neurosis in the subject. Charcot explicitly related hypnosis to hysteria as he believed that the two states followed the same three stages: catalepsy, lethargy and somnambulism.53 Furthermore, Charcot discovered that hysterics  53  As Crabtree notes, Charcot described these states in common medical terms, speaking of “reflex movements,” “muscular states” and “sensory alterations” (From Mesmer to Freud 166). Roughly speaking, in  133  were readily susceptible to hypnotic trance; thus, he concluded that hypnosis was an artificially produced state of hysteria. For others, like Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud in his early work, hypnotism could be used as a therapeutic agent, one that could help the subject uncover traumatic memories and bridge pathological gaps in consciousness. Whether it was in the pages of British medical journals such as the Lancet or the British Medical Journal (BMJ) or popular fiction like Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897) and George Du Maruier’s enormously successful Trilby (1894), hypnotism and mesmerism, often interchangeable in the public imagination, “compelled attention” (Thurschwell 37). The medical and scientific legitimacy of such practices was widely debated, and some like Ernest Hart, medical journalist for the Lancet and long-time editor of the BMJ, warned of the possible social mischief of hypnosis and cautioned against its practice by lay individuals. This chapter and the next will explore concerns like Hart’s, which were not uncommon in the late-nineteenth century. In addition to questions of qualification and legitimacy, hypnotism and mesmerism prompted questions concerning the power of individual will, the nature of influence and control over others, as well as the seat of intellectual authority. These questions were taken up by writers like Marsh and Du Maurier in their fiction in order to explore the changing social fabric of England, particularly contemporary fears and insecurities concerning the state of English culture and the role of Victorian manhood in its maintenance. In these texts the tropes of mesmerism/hypnotism illuminate a complex relationship between the permeability of mind, body, and nation that paradoxically serves to both uphold and undermine the supremacy of the British male subject. This chapter will the cataleptic state the subject would respond to physical suggestions, in the lethargic state, she would respond to none, and in the somnambulistic state, the subject was highly suggestive.  134  briefly outline the history of such practices and their reception in England 54 before turning to a discussion of Marsh’s Gothic tale of mesmerism – The Beetle. 3.1 Mesmerism, Hypnotism and the Question of Self-Control Developed by Franz Anton Mesmer in the late eighteenth century, the theory and practice of animal magnetism grew out of Mesmer’s earlier work with mineral magnetism and animal gravity, which he understood as the generalised influence of celestial bodies on the human organism. In his dissertation, titled Physical-Medical Treatise on the Influence of the Planets (1766), Mesmer sought to prove that the stars have an influence on human bodies and disease as well as contribute to the harmonisation between the astral and the human planes. The degree of this influence varied depending on the subject’s “sex, age, temperament, and various other characteristics, etc.” (Mesmer, On the Influence of the Planets 20). In proving the existence of this invisible influence, Mesmer hoped to furnish medical science with “either a cause or a remedy to many a sickness” (On the Influence of the Planets 20). Later, in 1774 when Mesmer began to experiment with magnets in his medical practice, he would rename “animal gravity” “animal magnetism” and would label this invisible influence “magnetic fluid”: an all-penetrating imperceptible fluid thought to be the foundation of life itself as well as the agent by which organic bodies carry out their “vital functions” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 4). Mesmer quickly abandoned the use of  54  The history of animal magnetism has been well documented by Henri Ellenberger in his pivot text The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (New York: Basic Books, 1970), Maria Tatar in Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1978), Adam Crabtree in From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993) and Alison Winter in Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1998). For further detail, see the above sources.  135  magnets55 and insisted that the most important magnet was in fact the human body, making the practitioner the central force in the magnetic experiment. In 1778 Mesmer established his practice in Paris,56 which became well known to members of both the upper and lower classes. His salon was “flooded by the ill and the curious” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 12). Mesmer’s clinic stood out in part because it “bore little resemblance to the normally austere décor of eighteenth-century clinics” (Tatar 14). In fact, his clinic was steeped in mystery and enchantment. Mesmer, with his iron wand and lilac taffeta robe, acted like a wizard, moving amongst the patients and fixing them with his magnetic stare. The room where Mesmer held his treatments was kept dark and silent, except for the specially-chosen soft music. According to Robert Darnton, “Heavy carpets, weird, astrological wall-decorations, and drawn curtains shut [Mesmer’s clinic] off from the outside world and muffled the occasional words, screams, and bursts of hysterical laughter that broke the habitual heavy silence” (8). The nature of the treatment was extremely intimate, and the relationship between magnetiser and patient was considered central to affecting a cure; physical contact and physical manipulation were part of a personal interaction thought to be essential to magnetic healing. According to Crabtree,  55  Mesmer did this in part because he was resentful that Jesuit priest Maximillian Hell was receiving more fame for the experiments than he was. Mesmer had based his experiments with magnets on the work of Hell, who had also made the magnets Mesmer used. 56 Mesmer was forced to leave his native Austria after a commission appointed to investigate his procedures reached the conclusion that animal magnetism “constituted a public menace and demanded that the doctor put an end to his fraudulent practice” (Tatar 11). This decision was based on both the Austrian medical community’s reluctance to accept the tenets of animal magnetism as scientific truth and public controversy surrounding the alleged inordinately strong attachment to Mesmer by one of his students, an eighteen-year-old blind musical prodigy, Maria Theresa Paradis.  136  [S]uch attention involved an intricate system of magnetic “passes,” measured movements of the hands of the magnetizer over the body of the patient. Typically ... Mesmer would sit facing the patient, knee against knee and foot against foot, to establish “harmony.” While fixing the patient with his eyes, Mesmer would place the fingers of one hand on the stomach and make parabolic movements over that area with the fingers of the other hand. While this was happening, the patient would often experience feelings of cold, heat, or pleasure from the passes. (From Mesmer to Freud 14) Mesmer’s treatments were immensely popular with the public in France, but the orthodox medical community remained sceptical. Just as in Vienna, Mesmer sought after the recognition of the medical and scientific communities in Paris; he approached both the Academy of Sciences and The Society of Medicine, but neither group was wholly convinced of the veracity of animal magnetism and the existence of magnetic fluid. The popularity of Mesmer’s treatments, the lack of official approval of his treatments, and the publication of Mesmer’s Mémoire sur le découverte du magnétisme animal (1779) and Charles D’Eslon’s Observations sur le magnétisme animal (1780), which strongly supported Mesmer, worked together to cause “a storm of controversy in the public press” (Crabtree From Mesmer to Freud 20). D’Eslon was physician to the comte d’Artois and a respected member of the Faculty of Medicine who became interested in animal magnetism because of the speedy and powerful results of the treatment. As D’Elson became independently established as a practitioner of animal magnetism, he increased his efforts to gain official governmental recognition for animal magnetism. He wrote to the  137  government in early 1784 calling for the formation of an official commission to investigate animal magnetism. D’Eslon’s request was favourably received, and as Crabtree notes, “no doubt his personal connection with the aristocracy partly accounted for this response” (From Mesmer to Freud 23). There was also, however, a growing need identified in governmental circles that the controversial matter of animal magnetism should be settled once and for all. The king thus appointed a commission to determine the scientific status of animal magnetism, which consisted of Benjamin Franklin (chair), J.B. Le Roy, A.L. Lavoisier, J.S. Bailly (secretary), and four members from the Faculty of Medicine. The committee members were to investigate and the faculty members were to comment on the results. Less than a month later, the king appointed a second commission, comprised of members of the Royal Society of Medicine, in order to determine the usefulness of animal magnetism in the treatment of illness. All investigation relied on D’Eslon as Mesmer refused to participate. Later, Mesmer would declare that the findings were invalid as D’Eslon57 had neither the true doctrine nor the correct technique of animal magnetism. The Franklin Commission (commonly thought to be the more prestigious of the two) concluded that the apparent effects of animal magnetism were due to “imagination and imitation” (From Mesmer to Freud 24), consequently denying the existence of the magnetic fluid. Thus, when animal magnetism came to England in the 1830s, it had already been established as a controversial and enigmatic practice. According to Winter, “Although mesmerism had made sporadic visits to Britain before the 1830s, it was in that decade that mesmerism’s British career began in earnest, with a series of experiments that consumed 57  For more on the famous rift between D’Eslon and Mesmer, see Crabtree From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993).  138  the attention of London in the spring of 1838” (Mesmerized 5). Due in part to the notoriety of its creator and in part to the dismissal of the existence of magnetic fluid, animal magnetism came to be pejoratively dubbed mesmerism. As the practice spread rapidly through Europe, both “animal magnetism” and “mesmerism” came to refer to a wide range of different techniques, “each claiming to give one person the power to affect another mind or body” (Winter, Mesmerized 2). Its arrival in England was marked by anxiety, debate and scepticism. In the fall of 1837 a journalist for the monthly Mirror reported a bizarre experiment in which the subject, a British gentleman, suffered a distressing loss of individual will. The reporter witnessed a foreign man “of very prepossessing appearance, with fine, dark, intelligent eyes” entrance the British gentleman by making gentle passes with his hands. When the experimenter ordered the subject to follow him, the man “yielded to the influence” and cried to be held back “or he must follow, as if he were dragged by a strong chain!” The struggle appeared to make the subject “considerably excited” at his helpless situation, requiring the experiment to end (qtd. in Winter, Mesmerized 44). The experimenter was the ‘Baron’ Charles Dupotet de Sennevoy, a figure of some prestige in France who had travelled to London to demonstrate the power of animal magnetism just as London doctors were debating the nature of the practice. Dupotet claimed to possess an unusual power to influence people and to control their actions against their will, stating that he was able to “penetrate” others with his “vital principle” (Winter, Mesmerized 44). Dupotet was the first – and perhaps most influential – of a series of traveling mesmerists demonstrating their strange powers. In the 1830s and 1840s a number of “exotic and, some  139  claimed, dangerous” lecturers on the topic of mesmerism began to appear in London. As Winter tells it, One of them – a small, spare man inexplicably missing his right thumb – was said to draw mysterious powers from this distinguishing physical feature. Another with his “piercing eyes,” flowing mustaches, and long beard, caused women on Regent Street to “cover their faces and cry out” when they saw him. Their physical appearance drew comment not merely because they stood out in a crowd, but also because of the power they claimed for themselves: their bodies demonstrated how one person could “penetrate” another with his “vital principle.” (Mesmerized 21) Even before they arrived, mesmerists were portrayed as seductive “foreign scoundrels,” and novels like Isabella Frances Romer’s Sturmer: a Tale of Mesmerism (1841) described dark and sometimes evil magnetisers using their supernatural powers to prey on vulnerable girls or even to kill. Romer’s sketch of mesmerism was all the more powerful because she claimed that the stories were based on “only what she has witnessed” (6). Winter claims that there was talk of magnetic “orgies” in the Paris hospitals and of “predatory magnetizers deflowering virginal patients” (Mesmerized 21). One commentator even went so far as to claim that “voracious Continental mesmerists were driven across the Channel in the search of ‘fresh food’ to feed their ‘libidinous propensities’” (Winter, Mesmerized 21). The first mesmerists and the powers they claimed to possess became powerful stimuli to the British public imagination and, as this chapter and the next will demonstrate, mesmeric practice came to symbolically stand-in for a number of social issues ranging from the nature of gender roles to questions of national identity to the strength of individual character.  140  By the late-nineteenth century, mesmerism had been largely stigmatised as an indecent, if not a criminal, practice. From the first accounts of Mesmer’s treatments it was the risk to women at the hands of male charlatans that was the key anxiety. The first official report on Mesmerism in 1784 had a private addendum in which the commissioners describe the intimacy involved in the magnetic procedure and express their concern about “possible abuses” that may occur when women are magnetised by men in private (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 28). Crabtree claims that the members of the Franklin Commission were astonished by the spectacle of the ‘crises’ undergone by patients. One member wrote: “All subjugate themselves to the cannot help but note in these consistent effects a great power that moves the patients and masters them. The result is that the magnetizer seems to be their absolute ruler” (qtd. in Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 25). If such views gave mesmerism the stigma of impropriety, its associations with crime and the criminal “made it not only improper but also significantly nefarious” (Willis and Wynne 9). Stories of mesmerism prompted much social anxiety as some warned that such practice might produce a wave of criminal activity. According to Roger Luckhurst, many believed that “women might be the passive and amnesic victims of hypnotic seducers; others might find themselves acting in trance or post-hypnotic suggestion to rob, murder or rape” (The Invention of Telepathy 152). After all, as Willis and Wynne point out, “if mesmerizers could suggest a variety of activities to their powerless subjects who could deny the possibility that some of these suggestions might involve illegal action” (9). Indeed, [T]he legal symbolism of mesmerism had always suggested a phenomenon on trial, always already criminalized. Mesmeric exhibitions were often attended by a select  141  group of observers acting as judges and jury for the events laid out before them. Mesmerism’s defenders – perhaps defendants – often used personal testimony as evidence of the truth of mesmerism. The language and practice of the courtroom, then, thoroughly pervades the discourse and performance of mesmerism, combining with its “politically transgressive” nature58 to suggest a tacit connection with crime and the criminal. (Willis and Wynne 9) Mesmerism and hypnotism retained their “criminal” character into the fin-de-siècle. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, British medical minds remained divided over the question of hypnotism’s medical efficacy as a practice. What most did agree upon, however, was that hypnotism should remain the unique purview of medical men. According to Mary Elizabeth Leighton, Ernest Hart maintained that the hypnotic state was potentially dangerous because of the subject's vulnerability to suggestion, which was particularly concerning when hypnosis was conducted by unqualified or criminally minded practitioners (115). The potentially dangerous nature of hypnotic suggestibility and the vulnerability of the hypnotised subject were to become the central focus of many late-nineteenth-century discussions of the practice. As Willis and Wynne point out, although mesmeric practices had long been “tarnished by accusations of fakery, villainy and corruption,” the second half of the nineteenth century “was to bring these various charges to a focus around the power relationship between mesmerizer and subject” (9). The intense connection between magnetiser and magnetised was one of the most striking features of animal magnetism. The 58  Robert Darnton’s study of mesmerism, Mesmerism and the End of Enlightenment in France (1970), suggests that mesmerism had an important impact on social and political thinkers during the two decades preceding the French Revolution. He argues that because Mesmer’s salon mixed social classes and genders, often placing the diverse subjects on equal footing, it was perceived as radical, anti-elite and even dangerous by some in late-eighteenth-century France.  142  marquis de Puységur noted that there seems to be a direct connection between the nervous systems of the magnetiser and the magnetised subject, which he labelled “rapport.” Puységur believed that the magnetiser could cause the magnetised to perform specific actions by a simple act of will: “Just as our body executes our will (as when I will my hand to pick up a book), when the magnetizer wills something, the magnetized person executes that command” (qtd. in Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 41). In Puységur’s view, “rapport causes the somnambulist to respond to and obey only the magnetizer” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 41). The fear of abuse of the rapport was present from the beginning. Puységur himself worried that the dependency of the subject might become a burden to the magnetiser or that the magnetiser might abuse his power. One of the more remarkable features of the rapport was what James Braid would come to term suggestibility. As Braid began to develop his theory of hypnotism, he was especially interested in discovering how physiological functioning could be altered by voluntary and involuntary mental efforts, and he eventually moved on to consider the crucial role of suggestion and imagination in control of the body (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 160). In 1851 Braid claimed that the state of hypnosis “is essentially one of mental abstraction or concentration of attention, in which the powers of the mind are engrossed, if not entirely absorbed, with a single idea or train of thought, and concurrently rendered unconscious of, or indifferently conscious to, all other ideas or impressions” (ElectroBiological Phenomena 6). According to Crabtree, “Recognizing the power of mind over body and ideas over physiological functioning, Braid drew attention to the presence of ‘dominant ideas’ in the mind which, whether one is aware of them or not, powerfully affect one’s  143  psychological and physiological state” (From Mesmer to Freud 161). Using this notion of dominant or fixed ideas, Braid developed his theory of suggestion: a method by which ideas could be implanted in the subject’s mind. These ideas could draw attention to or away from certain behaviours and conditions of the subject, or, as Braid puts it, certain ideas could be fixed “strongly and involuntarily in the mind of the patient, which thereby act as stimulants, or as sedatives, according to the purport of the expectant ideas, and the direction of the current of thought in the mind of the patient, either drawing it to, or withdrawing it from, particular organs or functions” (Hypnotic Therapeutics 8). These ideas could be implanted by speaking to the subject and influencing his or her thoughts or by creating physical impressions, such as applying pressure, contact or friction over an organ or area of the body that is affected by illness or disorder. Braid based this theory on the premise that when attention is directed in a certain way, bodily changes occur, “such as milk flowing in a mother at the sight of her child, saliva produced on viewing or smelling tasty food, tears coming from grief, blushing from shame, or palpitations from fear” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 161). Thus, since hypnotism focuses attention to an extraordinary degree, and physical changes can occur from mental concentration, hypnotism could be used to improve the physical and psychological health of the subject. In Hypnotic Therapeutics (1853), Braid wrote: Since it cannot be doubted that the soul and the body can mutually act and react upon each other, it should follow, as a natural consequence, that if we can attain to any mode of intensifying the mental power, we should thus realise, in a corresponding degree, greater control over physical action. Now this is precisely  144  what my processes do – they create no new faculties; but they give us greater control over the natural functions than we possess during the ordinary waking condition and particularly in intensifying mental influence, or the power of the mind of the patient over his own physical functions; and of a fixed dominant idea and physical state of the organs over the other faculties of the mind during the dominance of such fixed ideas. (Emphasis original, 12) Braid’s notion of fixed dominant ideas that control the body “led directly to a method of applying hypnotism in the amelioration or even cure of physical and mental illnesses. It involved using suggestion to create new fixed ideas of a curative nature” (Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 162). However, it also presented the converse possibility that harmful ideas could be implanted, reflected in the fear that subjects could be made to commit crimes or forget assaults made against them by their magnetist or hypnotist. The notion of suggestion also raised questions regarding the nature of the relationship between magnetiser and magnetised and the level of power that the mesmerist held over the entranced subject. The precise nature of the relationship between mesmerist and mesmerised was extensively debated. Since the subject seemed to be completely under the control of the mesmerist, experiments with mesmerism became sites for competing assertions on the nature of power and authority over others. There were often pronounced class and gender differences between mesmerist and subject, and Winter claims that the ideal mesmeric subject was both lower-class and female because the “best kind of experimental subject ...would be the most animal- or machine-like” (Mesmerized 62). The poor and  145  disenfranchised were model subjects as middle-class patients brought with them “an undesirable obtrusion of their own sense of identity, freedom of action, and speech into the experimental setting... [and] their own expectations [would lead] them to censor what they reported” (Mesmerized 62). As the magnetiser was most often male and the magnetised subject most often female, the roles of the mesmerist and somnambulist had certain gender associations that seemed to confirm traditional stereotypes of men and women. The notion of the mesmerist’s dominating mind and powers of psychic penetration corresponds to conventional images of masculinity, illustrated by Dupotet’s claim he could “penetrate” another with his mind or spirit. By contrast, the person being magnetised assumes a role often considered passive and submissive, therefore feminine. In his Manuel pratique de magnétisme animal (1843), Alphonse Teste suggested that women are more likely to be mesmerised due to their dependent nature,59 and in 1784 Jean Sylvain Bailly claimed that men exercise “natural empire” over women, which is demonstrated by the fact that it is “always men who magnetize women,” effectively establishing the gender dynamics of the magnetic relationship (Qtd. in Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud 92). Thus, a female mesmerist, such as the Woman of Songs in Marsh’s The Beetle or Miss Penclosa in Conan Doyle’s “The Parasite,” inverts societal norms of women’s weaker and dependent nature. According to Allison Winter, the few women mesmerists there were in the nineteenth century refrained from giving public demonstrations as “the role of mesmerist (as opposed to that of subject) was too overt a display of power” (Mesmerized 138). They did, however, work privately. Harriet Martineau had two female mesmerists, one of whom was her  59  Alphonse Teste, Manuel pratique de magnétisme animal (Paris, 1843), pp. 46-8.  146  servant. In Letters on Mesmerism (1845) she recounts how she instructed her maid to mesmerise her: “my maid did for me whatever, under my own instruction, good-will and affection could do” (11). However, Martineau desired “an educated person, so familiar with the practice of Mesmerism as to be able to keep a steady eye on the end” (11). She eventually found this in the widow of a clergyman. Although the case of Martineau demonstrates that mesmerism had the potential to destabilise existing power relations, the reverse was more often true. Adam Crabtree cites one nineteenth-century reviewer of mesmerism, A. Lombard, as claiming that women should not magnetise people as “they have a constitution more frail than [men’s], and magnetism, in lavishing nervous fluid, very much exhausts them and leaves them no energy for fulfilling their sacred duties,” such as pregnancy and nursing, which “require all the strength nature gives them” (From Mesmer to Freud 97). Misogynistic ideas, like those of Teste and Lombard, permeate much of the literature on mesmerism. Much like women and members of the lower-class, colonial subjects, in the eyes of many Victorians, were also appropriate subjects for mesmerism as they were perceived as being “naturally subject to the exercise of another’s power” (Winter, Mesmerized 211). Winter claims that some associated the vulnerability of the mesmeric subject with colonial subservience and linked the capacity to fall “under the influence” of mesmerism to social or cultural primitiveness. For example, physician James Esdaile believed there was a link between colonial subservience and susceptibility to trance based on his practice of mesmerism in India. On the one hand, Esdaile used mesmerism as an anesthetic to alleviate pain during surgery. On the other hand, Esdaile used mesmerism as means of reinforcing  147