Spooky Mediums and the Redistribution of the Sensible: Sarah Waters’s Affinity and Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black



The following conversation between a prison matron and Margaret Prior, a Lady Visitor to the women’s wing of Millbank penitentiary, unfolds in Sarah Waters’s 1999 neo-Victorian novel Affinity, set in 1870s London:

’sThis is a place for “palling up”, as the creatures call it; yet no-one has made a pal of her. I believe they are leery of her. Someone got her story from the newspapers, and passed it on — stories will get passed on, you see, for all our pains! And then, the wards at night — the women fancy all kinds of nonsense. Someone gives a shriek, says she has heard queer sounds from Dawes’s cell —’ Sounds…?

’sSpooks, miss! The girl is a — a spirit-medium they call them, don’st they?’ (43)


Undocumented Migrant Political Subject Alternative Vision Female Medium Patriarchal Culture 
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Copyright information

© Esther Peeren 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamNetherlands

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