Theatre and Spectrality

Mary E Luckhurst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Ghosts are hard to escape in modern and contemporary culture: in film and television dramas, novels, poetry, fine art and installation — and, particularly, we argue in this book, in theatre. Much has been written about ghosts in relation to Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny,’ in which Freud describes feelings of dread and repulsion at a familiar object suddenly rendered full of alienating menace.1 For Jo Collins and John Jervis, Freud’s uncanny suggests ‘a fundamental indecision, an obscurity or uncertainty, at the heart of our ontology, our sense of time, place and history, which is unsettling, potentially terrifying and intriguing.’2 The confrontation with the uncanny has been perceived as a fundamentally modern predicament: Collins and Jervis identify the uncanny as the ‘constitutive aspect of our experience of the modern,’ while Roger Luckhurst describes the uncanny as ‘a meta-concept for modernity itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheatre and Ghosts
Subtitle of host publicationMateriality, Performance and Modernity
EditorsMary Luckhurst, Emilie Morin
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-34507-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-46631-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Magical Thinking, Late Capitalism, Modern Drama, Psychical Research, Ghost Story


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