Psychical Research, Folklore and Romance

  • Elsa Richardson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter examines the history of second sight through the prism of the late nineteenth-century romance revival in British fiction and the founding of the Folklore Society and the Society for Psychical Research. Centred on the Scottish polymath Andrew Lang, it considers second sight as subject for and producer of the popular romance. Making use of Lang’s extensive and varied writing on the topic of second sight—he covers it in works on anthropology, folklore and Scottish history—Richardson explores the narrative components and generic framing of previsionary narratives. Examining the intersections between literary and psychological theory, this chapter looks at how narratives of second sight, romance and national identity contributed to evolving psychological understandings of the imagination.


Mass Literacy Fairy Tale Reading Public Contemporary Review Popular Fiction 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elsa Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Strathclyde UniversityGlasgowUnited Kingdom

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