Abstract

Abstract:

With the advent of spiritualism in the early 1850s, tables and chairs in British households were making an array of unpredictable movements and noises. One of the most unsettling aspects of spiritualism was that it caused the animation of fabricated things. What did it mean that manufactured objects, produced by anonymous craftsmen or factory workers, could cast the middle-class home into disarray? In addition to fueling anxieties about the upheaval of the domestic sphere, accounts of animated furniture stirred up debates on productive labor and the line between efficient and wasted energy. Critics of spiritualism raised the possibility that the labor that went into the production of an object could in fact be experienced by the consumer, often in jarringly visceral ways.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 209-234
Launched on MUSE
2017-06-16
Open Access
No
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