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Popular Psychology and Psychoanalysis: Victorian to Modern Subjects?

This seminar concentrates on the early twentieth century, though it also provides opportunity for consideration of earlier popular movements in the nineteenth century. It focuses in particular on assessing the impact of Freud and psychoanalysis on British culture in the first decades of the century, the extent to which these ideas were accepted or resisted and the reasons for this. Did these years see the breakdown of a Victorian model of the self and the emergence of modern psychological subjects instead? To what extent does a search via the online Times provide material to address these issues?


Cooter, Roger, The Cultural Meaning of Popular Science: Phrenology and the Organisation of Consent in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1984).

Dixon, Joy, Divine Feminine: Theosophy and Feminism in England (2001).

Falby, Alison. 'The modern confessional : Anglo-American religious groups and the emergence of lay psychotherapy'. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 39:3 (2003), 251-67.

Forrester, John, ‘”A Whole Climate of Opinion”: Rewriting the History of Psychoanalysis’, in M. Micale and R. Porter (eds.), Discovering the History of Psychiatry (1994), pp. 174-90.

Hayward, Rhodri, ‘Demonology, Neurology and Medicine in Edwardian Britain’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 78 (2004), 37-58.

Hazelgrove, J., Spiritualism and British Society Between the Wars

Maddox, Brenda. Freud's wizard : the enigma of Ernest Jones. London: John Murray, 2006.

Oppenheim, Janet, Shattered Nerves: Doctors, Patients and Depression in Victorian England, 1850-1914 (1991).

Oppenheim, The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychic Research in England, 1850-1914 (1985).

Owen, Alexander, The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England (1989).

Owen, Alexander, The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and Culture of the Modern (2004).

Owen, Alexander, ‘The Sorceror and his Apprentice: Aleister Crowley and the Magical Exploration of Victorian Subjectivity’, Journal of British Studies, 36 (1997), 99-133.

Rapp, Dean, ‘The Early Discovery of Freud by the British General Reading Public, 1912-1919’, Social History of Medicine, 3 (1990), 217-45.

Richards, Graham, ‘Britain on the Couch: The Popularization of Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1918-1940’, Science in Context, 13 (2000), 183-230.

Thomson, Mathew, ‘Practical Psychology’ in Psychological Subjects, pp. 17-53.

Thomson, ‘After the New Age’, in Psychological Subjects, 76-105.

Winter, Alison, Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain (1998)

Source: The Times (online search)