The Case of Florence Marryat: Custodian of the Spirit World/Popular Novelist

Authored by: Tatiana Kontou

The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754669128
eBook ISBN: 9781315613352
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042280


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In 1891, Florence Marryat published There Is No Death, a collection of her spiritualist experiences gathered over a twenty-year period. The book’s title proclaimed Marryat’s unwavering belief in communication with the dead. Potential readers only had to look at the book’s spine to see that ‘there’ one would not encounter the finality of death but its undoing. ‘There’ is a textual space; within the book Marryat describes sittings with mediums, materializing and disembodying spirits, séance cabinets and automatic-writing messages which show us that ‘there’ is also a ‘Debateable Land’, 1 1

Florence Marryat, There Is No Death (1891; London, 1892), p. 6.

another life to be lived, infinite possibilities to be fulfilled, life after death. Marryat includes personal anecdotes and narrates the losses she experienced – from lost love to lost daughters – only to revel in the reunions that the séance offered. Although in Marryat’s sensation fiction death punctuates the story line, in her spiritualist memoir death is assertively negated on the title-page; death is treated as a beginning, as a passage through which Marryat can relay and replay the past.

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