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The Cultural History of Ghosts

March 25, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Susan Owens will talk about her book The Ghost: a Cultural History, accompanied by complimentary Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic. Ghosts are woven into the very fabric of British life. Their enduring popularity in literature, art, folklore and film attests to their continuing power to fascinate, terrify and inspire.

Our conceptions of ghosts the fears that they provoke, the forms they take personifies our shared past, reminding us of the layers of history beneath our feet and of old stories and timeless terrors that refuse to be erased. In this broad cultural history, Susan Owens reveals what these spirits and apparitions can tell us about our culture and about ourselves, and explores how ghosts have inhabited a wide range of roles from medieval times to the present day.

dazzling range of artists are featured, including William Blake, Henry Fuseli, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Paul Nash and Jeremy Deller, alongside writers such as John Donne, William Shakespeare, Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe, Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters. The Ghost: A Cultural History delves into a wealth of literary and artistic sources, including illuminated manuscripts, woodcut engravings, magic-lantern slides, paintings, prints, poems, novels and stories providing a fresh take on a subject that has fascinated us for centuries.

Susan Owens is an art historian and curator. She studied English at Somerville College, Oxford and European art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and gained her PhD from the University of London. Formerly Curator of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, she has written or co-authored books on decadent interiors, natural history illustration, watercolours, drawings and self-portraits.

Her latest book is The Ghost: A Cultural History (Tate Publishing). Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art, co-edited with Nicholas Tromans (Yale University Press) will be published in October 2018.


March 25, 2019
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:


The Last Tuesday Society


The Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities
11 Mare Street
London, E8 4RP United Kingdom
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