Claudie Massicotte: Trance Speakers

I really enjoyed adopting this position of the medium, where I was searching for these voices that had been forgotten or erased from history...[I became] the one who would transmit these voices to others.

Claudie Massicotte discusses her book Trance Speakers: Femininity and Authorship in Spiritual Seances, 1850-1930 with Chris Richardson. Massicotte specializes in psychoanalysis, literary theory, and the Victorian occult. She earned her MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Montreal and her Ph.D. in Theory and Criticism from The University of Western Ontario. She has published on Freud in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and The Encyclopedia of Trauma and on artistic representations of the unconscious in the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, the Canadian Art Review, and the edited volume Trains, Literature, and Culture. After completing her postdoctoral research sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) at The University of California Los Angeles, she became Director of Interdisciplinary Studies and Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Criticism at Young Harris College. 


I’ve really enjoyed this book, which provides a fascinating cultural history of the popular imagination of electronic media. From telegraphy to virtual reality, Sconce convincingly argues that American understandings of the occult have evolved along parallel lines with technologies of communication.


This is Woolf’s brilliant and seminal work on women, authorship, and writing. It is beautiful, complex, and still relevant almost 90 years later.


These are five fascinating stories that changed our world. The women presented by Freud and Breuer have indeed transformed modern understandings of love, desire, and the psyche. From Anna O.’s idea of chimney sweeping (free association), the book has also transformed the way we tell and listen to stories.


Sword explores the works of James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, and James Merrill, among other Modernists. She compellingly demonstrates that Modernism and spiritual mediumship share a radical reinvention of authorial conventions.


This wonderful book presents the stories of three women – Blanche, Augustine, and Genevieve, who lived in the hysteria ward of the Salpetriere under Jean-Martin Charcot. Hustvedt retraces the medical discourses surrounding hysteria. She demonstrates that, while hysteria has all but disappeared from our medical registers, the ideas of femininity that undergirded understandings of the illness have not. Asti is also the sister of the wonderful novelist Siri Hustvedt and her prose is just as captivating.