By Robert S. Cox
A manufactured from the "spiritual hothouse" of the second one nice Awakening, Spiritualism
turned the quickest growing to be faith within the country throughout the 1850s, and one of many principal
responses to the common conception that American society was once descending into atomistic
In physique and Soul, Robert Cox indicates how Spiritualism sought to
remodel sympathy into social perform, arguing that every person, dwelling and useless, was
poised inside a nexus of have an effect on, and during the lively propagation of those sympathetic bonds,
a brand new and coherent society may emerge. Phenomena akin to spontaneous somnambulism and
sympathetic communion with the dead—whether via séance or "spirit photography"—were
methods of transcending the obstacles dissecting the yankee physique politic, together with the ultimate
barrier, loss of life. Drawing both upon social, occult, and physiological registers, Spiritualism
created a different "social body structure" within which brain was once built-in into physique and physique into
society, best Spiritualists into earthly social reforms, resembling women’s rights and
From the start, despite the fact that, Spiritualist political and social
expression was once way more various than has formerly been well-known, encompassing distinctive
proslavery and antiegalitarian lines, and within the wake of racial and political adjustments
following the Civil conflict, the stream started to fracture. Cox strains the eventual dissolution of
Spiritualism throughout the contradictions of its a number of nearby and racial factions and through
their more and more circumscribed responses to a altering international. in any case, he concludes, the
historical past of Spiritualism was once written within the limits of sympathy, and never its limitless
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Extra info for Body and Soul: A Sympathetic History of American Spiritualism
Body and Soul: A Sympathetic History of American Spiritualism by Robert S. Cox