Skip to main content

Repetition and Eternity: The Spectral and Textual Continuity in Michèle Roberts’s In the Red Kitchen

  • Chapter
  • First Online:

Abstract

The nineteenth century offers a captivating reservoir of topics for contemporary novelists engaged in the process of recreating and re-imagining the Victorian world, among which are: religious angst and the dilemmas of science; the impact of the Industrial Revolution; emerging discourses of sexuality, illness, and medicine; the mysteries of the Victorian underworld; nineteenth-century technology; and women’s emancipation. It thus seems logical that a significant part of what constitutes a Victorian zeitgeist, that is the Victorian interest in the paranormal — mesmerism, spiritualism, telepathy, or hallucination — has also found its way onto the pages of the neo-Victorian novel. Practices of spiritualism and mesmerism, and other psychic phenomena have entered the nineteenth-century plotlines of contemporary historical fiction. Novels as diverse as A. S Byatt’s Possession (1990) and Angels and Insects (1992), Michèle Roberts’s In the Red Kitchen (1990), Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997), Sarah Waters’s Affinity (1999), Colm Tóibín’s The Master (2004), or Julian Barnes’s Arthur and George (2005), to name just a few — all, in one way or another, employ the themes of spiritualism and haunting. Yet, the haunting presence of ghosts or mediums in this type of historical novel serves purposes beyond merely satiating current tastes or fashions.

Keywords

  • Master Narrative
  • Eternal Life
  • Textual Continuity
  • Psychic Phenomenon
  • Authorial Voice

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The universal teaching of modern spiritualism is that the world and the whole material universe exist for the purpose of developing spiritual beings — that death is simply a transition from material existence to the first grade of spirit-life — and that our happiness and the degree of our progress will be wholly dependent upon the use we have made of our faculties and opportunities here.1

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230246744_3
  • Chapter length: 13 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-230-24674-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2009 Agnieszka Golda-Derejczyk

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Golda-Derejczyk, A. (2009). Repetition and Eternity: The Spectral and Textual Continuity in Michèle Roberts’s In the Red Kitchen. In: Arias, R., Pulham, P. (eds) Haunting and Spectrality in Neo-Victorian Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230246744_3

Download citation

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.