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Religion, sorcery and suffering men: witchcraft in David Copperfield and Jude the Obscure/Din, buyuculuk ve aci ceken erkekler: David Copperfield ve Jude the Obscure adli eserlerde cadi avi.

Abstract: There is a systematic dissonance between scientific developments in Victorian Britain and what we find in the realist novels of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Indeed, witchcraft relentlessly troubles David Copperfield and Jude the Obscure. More specifically, in works focusing on the development of masculine heroes, its presence challenges this sense of a movement forwards. Yet, in contrast to the connections Dickens establishes between the supernatural and those on the margins of society, Hardy adopts a more problematic approach, positioning witchcraft as a central issue. It is precisely in Hardy's later novel that sorcery spills into the domain of Christianity: Sue's transformation from bewitching New Woman to Spiritualist reveals the fluid boundaries between religion, magic and modernism. In both novels, however, the threat from black magic is real and must be contained. Particularly as witchcraft and its position in the realist novel is far from straightforward; it draws attention to things--especially in the area of sexuality and the body--that the Victorians would have preferred to ignore, and, as such, insidiously but insistently disrupts the overt, central narrative.

Keywords: realist novels, witchcraft, supernatural, Christianity, Spiritualist


Witchcraft relentlessly troubles David Copperfield (1849-50) and Jude the Obscure (1895). (1) For the increasingly rational Victorians any hint of sorcery produced a worrying feeling of danger. More specifically, in novels focusing on the development of masculine heroes, its presence challenged the sense of a movement forwards. Yet there is a difference between the two novels. In contrast to the connections Charles Dickens establishes between the supernatural and those on the margins of society, Thomas Hardy adopts a more problematic approach, positioning witchcraft as a central issue. In both novels, however, the threat from black magic is real and must be contained. Particularly as witchcraft and its position in the realist novel is far from straightforward; it draws attention to things--particularly in the area of sexuality and the body--that the Victorians would have preferred to ignore, and, as such, insidiously but insistently disrupts the overt, central narrative.

The Victorian age saw an immense growth in industry, scientific activity and education. Although Germany, France and Italy had witnessed revolutions in the years 1847 and 1848, Britain's ability to avoid such conflict allowed her to become a more productive nation. Prior to the 1849-50 publication of David Copperfield, the engineering talent of Isambard Kingdom Brunel produced SS Great Britain, a steam-powered ship that reduced the Atlantic crossing to just two weeks in 1843 (Atterbury 154). Improvements in the field of industry continued when the first oil refinery was built in Derby in 1848, while, in the same year, John Simon was appointed as the first officer of health in London, signalling the beginning of a modern public health service (Atterbury 109). Perhaps the most influential event in this era of progress and self-improvement, however, was the 1851 Great Exhibition. Commissioned by Prince Albert, the famous Crystal Palace exhibition hall was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton to hold works of art, machinery, tools and china from every corner of the British Empire. With such displays of technology and scientific thinking, therefore, there appears to be little room left for superstition and belief in the supernatural.

Consequently, it comes as no surprise that throughout David Copperfield witchcraft is overtly represented as nothing more than a memory. Indeed, the text displaces any incidental reference to magic into the narrative background: "Salem House was a square brick building with [...] a bare and unfurnished appearance [...] There [...] [was] a strange unwholesome smell [...] like [...] apples wanting air, and rotten books" (89). (2) David is sent to a school that shares its name with the Massachusetts town of Salem. As such, the Victorian building is, if only indirectly, linked with the frenzied witch persecutions that gripped this community. (3) Insidiously, however, something more begins to be conveyed in the atmospheric details. Images of decay are foregrounded, the stagnancy of its interior adding a haunting quality; this is not the domestic order the Victorians craved. Salem House attempts to stifle such elements within its own walls; its very name, however, hints towards a history that will not be concealed. A worrying sense of an alternative world and an alternative scheme of values has begun to assert itself. While the inanimate building has ghostly qualities, even more unnerving is the unexplained behaviour of the teachers. Most strangely, "Mr. Mell [...] would talk to himself sometimes, and grin, and clench his fist, and grind his teeth, and pull his hair in an unaccountable manner" (92). The man has lost control over his actions as he attacks his own body. Such images imply that his eccentricity is somehow linked to his incarceration in Salem House. Mr. Mell's behaviour is at odds with the rules and regulations of society, suggesting that the school has some unearthly power to corrupt and bewitch. The impression is that the building has more than just a nominal relationship with the witch-village of Salem; there is a feeling that sorcery has not been completely banished to the past.

These associations, inevitably, are disturbing rather than comforting. As the novel progresses, what can be witnessed is the problematic emergence of a darker side to polite Victorian society, a darker side that is linked to black magic. It is a dimension that is most in evidence in incidental, seemingly trivial, details: "Em'ly, my darling, come here! Come here, my little witch" (320). Mr Peggotty's pet-name reveals that there is something disconcerting about this orphan. The juxtaposition of the words "darling" (320) and "witch" (320) suggest that angelic and demonic elements are interdependent in her portrayal; she is a figure of excess that challenges the masculine ideal of a passive and virginal female (Bristow 42). Following her fall into prostitution, Rosa Dartle parallels Emily's sexual corruption with another form of witchery. Dartle passionately declares that "if I could order it to be done, I would have this girl whipped to death [...] Do you hear me, you fairy spirit?" (726) Indeed, Rosa draws upon the practice of exorcising a fairy changeling in her desire to flog Emily (McDonagh 189). (4) The fallen woman's bewitched body and "fairy spirit" (726) must be purged through violence. There is a disturbing logic at work here as Dickens emphasises the sexual dimension of witchcraft; old ideas have not been suppressed and are at odds with the rationality of realist fiction.

More alarming than the, almost commonplace, connection between a female prostitute and witchcraft, however, is the way in which this sense of menace appears in relation to the Victorian male. Traditionally, it is the unrestrained woman that rebels against patriarchal society. In contrast to this stereotype, the "ghostly" (235) touch of Uriah Heep also bewitches: "I caught a glimpse [...] of Uriah [...] breathing into the pony's nostrils [...] as if he were putting a spell upon him" (229). Even the innocent act of breathing is sinister and threatening. The animal's body is penetrated as this witch-like male charms livestock and works malefice (Robbins 330). (5) The influence of urbanisation upon magical practices, however, meant that witches were increasingly perceived as cursing town trades as opposed to farm cattle (Davies 399). (6) It is in this cultural context that Dickens positions Uriah Heep and his relationship with Mr. Wickfield: "He has always been at my elbow, whispering [...] You see the millstone that he is about my neck. You find him [...] in my business" (584). The demise of Wickfield's health and livelihood is blamed upon Uriah's malignant murmurings. Heep engulfs the male body as his spells hold Wickfield captive; he becomes more powerful as his host weakens. A sexually charged intimacy between the two men continues until Wickfield is "relieved of the incubus that had fastened upon him" (781). This reference to a male demon who gained sustenance by having sexual intercourse with its sleeping prey complicates Uriah's portrayal (Pickering 142). Homoerotic elements invade the text to expose how it is not simply Wickfield's business but also his masculinity that is under threat from the supernatural. What the novel seems to foreground is the sexual nature of magic, a dimension to the novel that conflicts with the straightforward narrative of David's self-fulfilment.

In David Copperfield, witch and fairy images are repeatedly associated with unregulated desire and violent assaults on the body. Time and time again, Uriah Heep is implicated in such occurrences of witchcraft. Although he is not a servant, tenant or family member, his position in the home allows him to hold David spellbound. Dreaming that he had attacked Uriah, David explains how he was "so haunted [...] by the idea [...] that I stole into the next room to look at him [...] I was attracted to him in very repulsion, and could not help wandering in and out every half hour" (390). This hypnotic desire to gaze upon the sleeping male seizes David's body. He loses control of his actions while the language exposes an involuntary homoerotic attraction. The word "stole" (390) also labels David's actions as criminal. Uriah's ghostly influence seems to have sexually aroused and morally corrupted the law-abiding David. Even though his identity as the heterosexual male protagonist is undermined, David's loathing of Heep remains potent. He describes him as being "damp [...] like a frog" (385) while "the snaky twistings of his throat and body" (245) further emphasises his shape-shifting representation. Such animal characteristics draw upon the belief that the Devil gave every witch a familiar which was a low-ranking demon in the shape of an animal, notably a cat, toad or snake (Robbins 190). Indeed, Uriah is positioned as such a familiar. Witchcraft rarely spares the body; elusive metamorphosis converts the human form into a malleable weapon.

This becomes particularly significant if the additional dimension that is always implicit in the description of Mrs. Heep's indefinable female body is noted: "To have seen the mother and son, like two great bats hanging over the whole house, and darkening it with their ugly forms, made me [David] [...] uncomfortable" (578). Working in harmony with her familiar, she cloaks the house in a claustrophobic shadow. Mrs Heep persistently rejects the body and its confinements, changing physical form and increasing her power. The language suggests that this outsider is driven by a predatory appetite that lingers behind her human features. Consequently, her animalistic shape-shifting encourages a more dangerous interpretation; although a male familiar such as Uriah is alarming, it is the woman that poses the real danger: "His mother's eye was an evil eye to the rest of the world [...] she showed in the firelight like an ill-looking enchantress" (577). Within the framework of witchcraft, hostile looks from an evil eye were a means of inflicting illness or death by fascination (Gijswijt-Hofstra 144). As such, the mother is identified as a sorceress who exploits Uriah as her familiar. Although the "creeping" (784) son is labelled as the perpetrator of malicious deeds, he seems to follow her command. Mrs Heep embodies some of the most fundamental Victorian anxieties surrounding women and their influence over men. Moreover, an intimacy with magic simmers below her humble exterior as, astonishingly, the reader is confronted with elements of black art within the realist novel. Reassuring convictions about sexuality, identity and the human body fall victim to the powers of sorcery; in this masculine middle-class text, the self-possession of the hero yields to an entirely different form of possession.

The real difficulty emerges, however, when witchcraft is not just associated with those on the margins of respectable society. Although Jude the Obscure (1895) was written at the very end of the nineteenth century, magic is still a central issue. (7) Unnervingly, belief in sorcery seems to have continued even in the face of social, educational and economic reform. The spirit of the age was certainly progressive. Forster's Education Act of 1870 allowed School Boards to use money from rates to build new schools, while literacy levels increased after the 1861 removal of paper duty, enabling publishers to manufacture cheaper books (Goldman 36). Attempts to empower the working classes through enfranchisement also gained momentum with Benjamin Disraeli's Second Reform Act of 1867 and the 1884-85 Third Reform Act almost tripling the electorate. As the Victorian era drew to a close, rational thinking was thoroughly established. The Judicature Act of 1873 successfully reorganised the British legal system with Lord Selborne uniting the seven major courts into one Supreme Court of Justice (Hanham 402). With judges demanding increasingly high standards of proof in cases of alleged witchcraft, a new emphasis was placed upon pragmatic evidence. Little credit was given to superstition (Oldridge 368). Suprisingly, it is in this historical context that Hardy produced a narrative that is packed with allusions to the supernatural world.

Belief in the paranormal is apparent throughout Jude the Obscure. Perhaps the most obvious example is the popularity of Physician Vilbert, the nomadic quack-doctor that Jude sees "selling a pot of coloured lard to an old woman as a certain cure for a bad leg [...] which [...] could only be obtained from [...] Mount Sinai"(26-7). (8) Religion, medicine and magic are all interwoven in this portrayal, the biblical reference to Moses and the Ten Commandments linking Vilbert with a concept of miracles. This is further emphasised in his dealings with Arabella Donn: "He produced a small phial of clear liquid. 'A love-philter, such as was used by the Ancients with great effect'" (295). Made from a "distillation of the juices of doves' hearts" (295), this potion allows Vilbert to manipulate the emotional and physical conduct of those influenced by his magic. Indeed, the fact that such potions were associated with servants of evil, and forbidden by Greek and Roman law, reveals the malignant power that they were feared to contain (Firor 108). Furthermore, Vilbert's ease in selling his mixtures suggests that faith in their ability to work remained strong. In rural folklore, however, love-potions and ointments were regarded as white magic (Firor 83). (9) During the 1890s the term 'white-witch' had been replaced by 'planet-ruler' (Davies 410). Physician Vilbert's talent to time his movements like "the planets in their courses" (28), therefore, implies that his role in the narrative is that of a white-witch doctor. What Hardy seems to be introducing the reader to is an alternative culture that presides in Britain, even if only found in the country's geographical fringes.

A lot of the time in Jude the Obscure witchcraft is an accepted fact of rural life, and quite free of the sinister associations evident in David Copperfield. This becomes apparent in the very way that magic is seen as a means of controlling matters of the heart: "She gave, without Jude perceiving it, an adroit little suck to the interior of each of her cheeks in succession, by which [...] manoeuvre she brought as by magic [...] a perfect dimple" (39). What is important is the language used to portray Arabella's seemingly innocent behaviour. Elements of the paranormal invade the narrative as Hardy further manipulates love magic. The woman's skill in deceiving the male suggests that she is able to cast a spell to manipulate her body and create an illusion. Additionally, while such practices were used to procure affection, magic was also a source of monitoring excessive emotion. After the widowed Arabella declares that her "wicked heart" (315) still desires Jude, Anny's advice is to "take a lock of your late-lost husband's hair, and have it made into a mourning broach, and look at it every hour of the day" (315). The relationship between superstition and sorcery remains clear. Images of mutilating the corpse emerge as Anny implies that it has unearthly powers; indeed, the hair is presented as a charm to negate unwanted lust and excessive sexual desire. (10) In all these examples, the text seems to operate on two levels. At one level, it is all just harmless nonsense. But there is always a sinister undertone. Even though these are just rural superstitions, the notion of severing hair from the dead suggests that witchcraft is never completely innocent; the body is relentlessly under attack, and under attack from a shape-changing body that seems to operate outside the normal human constraints.

This becomes more evident through the acknowledgement that, while Vilbert's love-unguents and Arabella's magical dimples are representative of white magic, it is the emergence of black art that unsettles Jude the Obscure. Time and time again, it is Arabella that is connected with witchery, and associated with witchery in a way that goes beyond any conventional display of her feminine charms. After falsely claiming to be pregnant and trapping Jude into marriage, she tells him "don't take on, dear. What's done can't be undone" (61). The language echoes the words of Lady Macbeth (Shakespeare 3.2.13). (11) This character's obsession with following the predictions of the three witches results in madness and the fall of her husband. Furthermore, the knowledge that this play was written for King James I explains the malevolent portrayal of the witches, as it was this English monarch who not only wrote Daemonologie (1597), a lengthy dialogue condemning various types of black magic, but also enforced the sterner Witchcraft Act of 1604 that labelled necromancy as heresy and intensified the witch-hunting mania (Pickering 154). As such, Arabella's juxtaposition with this specific play and its background seems to engulf her in a tradition of enchantment. Her intimacy with black magic is further reiterated with her relationship with Little Father Time. When Sue Bridehead asks the child why he had not been christened he explains that, "if I died in damnation, 'twould save the expense of a Christian funeral" (280). Although Arabella's poverty is apparent, her decision to not christen her son has more sinister overtones, as such children were believed to be easy prey for the Devil and his associates. (12) Furthermore, the word "damnation" (280) is associated with Church descriptions of Hell, to imply that the mother is willing to sacrifice her son to evil. Indeed, he is intentionally placed in spiritual danger. If the presentation of Arabella as a witch in Jude the Obscure starts off as a little harmless fun--the girl who sucks in her cheeks to beguile a young man--as the novel proceeds it develops into something far more serious. Indeed, whereas David Copperfield's progress in life comes under threat from bewitching figures, in Hardy's novel people's lives are genuinely blighted and destroyed by witchcraft. And, as will be seen in relation to Sue Bridehead, it is witchcraft that is absolutely central, rather than peripheral, in Jude the Obscure.

Throughout Jude the Obscure, magic appears in connection with the country as opposed to the city. Indeed, the rural superstitions of Vilbert, Arabella and Anny are shown to jar with Sue's "townish" (111) ideas. Putting this in context, it may be said that the novel draws upon the social changes made prior to its 1895 publication to portray Sue Bridehead as the archetypal New Woman. (13) She has "no fear of men...nor of their books" (147) and argues that "the railway station [...] [is] the centre of the town life now. The Cathedral has had its day" (134-5). These radical opinions are symbolic of the kind of unconventional women that rejected Christianity while challenging male intellectual superiority; indeed, technology and education seem to be Sue's main concerns. As such, Sue is identified as progressive and independent. What is disconcerting therefore is the emergence of witchcraft with this thoroughly modern woman. Echoing the presentation of Uriah Heep in David Copperfield, the narrative emphasises Sue's ability to drain Phillotson until he becomes a shadow of his former self: "No man had ever suffered [...] from his own charity, Christian or heathen, than Phillotson had done in letting Sue go [...] he had been knocked about [...] [and] nearly starved" (357). Unnervingly, the woman's influence over her husband increases even in her physical absence. His life in exile, lack of sustenance and persistent bad luck suggests that he is cursed. By conforming to Sue's demands a transformation occurs that can only be reversed when she is restored as his Christian wife; she remains in control of both their destinies. As is the case in David Copperfield, although novels seem to focus on the self-possession of independent individuals, free to carve out their own destinies in life, Jude the Obscure seems to identify a very different form of possession that defies all the rules of logic and any form of rational explanation. If a commitment to Christian belief is shown to be weakening in the novel, what displaces it is not a set of more rational convictions; on the contrary, it is a retreat to an older, Pagan tradition.

As with his cousin Sue, Jude Fawley is exposed to Pagan philosophies from his childhood. Such beliefs often dictate his actions and emerge against his will. After chanting to the goddess Diana he "mused over his curious superstition [...] and the lapse from common-sense and custom in one who wished [...] to be a Christian divine. It had all come of reading heathen works" (34). It is interesting that although Diana was the Roman goddess of hunting, during the Dark Ages she was identified as the leader of sorcerers and worshiped by a primitive witch-cult (Pickering 73). Therefore, Jude's "lapse" (34) forebodingly exposes an unconscious awareness of black magic. The language emphasises how his reading of heathen literature has a hypnotic effect as he loses command over his body; he is seduced by the power of Diana. It is perhaps this Pagan connection that Sue manipulates as she encourages her cousin to discard his dreams of entering the Church:
   His second aspiration--towards apostleship--had also been checked by
   a woman [...]. At dusk that evening he [...] brought out all the
   theological and ethical works that he possessed [...] and with a
   three pronged fork shook them over the flames. (217)

This burning of Christian literature is sacrilegious, while the portrayal of Jude using a three-pronged fork, a symbol often associated with the Devil, evokes traditional images of Hell. In order to gain Sue's affections, therefore, Jude is willing to sacrifice his soul along with his theological studies; under her influence the man is led towards a much darker religion than Christianity.

Sue's location on a boundary between New Woman and enchantress shifts as her relationship with Jude deepens. Their essentially incestuous attraction engulfs them both in a world of magic and witchcraft: "Her actions were [...] unpredictable: why should she not come? [...] [H]e returned to the room and sat as watchers sit on Old-Midsummer eves, expecting the phantom of the Beloved" (176). Jude describes his volatile cousin as ghost-like in her ability to haunt him. His reference to Old-Midsummer eve is symbolic, as this was the time when witches were thought to contact the souls of the dead by performing a magical ceremony. Furthermore, this date includes the Summer Solstice, one of the eight Sabbats that marked the diminishing of the sun and, therefore, was a time when the forces of evil were especially active (Dunwich 123). (14) By associating Sue with such black rituals her supernatural portrayal is complete. Although Jude is transfixed by his lover and mimics her rejection of Christianity, he is still unable to completely contain the woman. Indeed, just as Phillotson could not achieve dominance through matrimony, so Jude is unable to physically restrain her: "you spirit, you disembodied creature, you dear, sweet, tantalizing phantom--hardly flesh at all; so that when I put my arms around you I [...] expect them to pass through you" (244). His language grows more and more irrational as his desire to embrace Sue fails. Indeed, Jude's disjointed sentences reflect his emotional turmoil and sense of powerlessness over the woman. She is neither human nor animal and, as such, defies the boundaries of any earthly body. This blurring of identity continues as the female is portrayed as a cruel spectre tormenting her bewitched lover; Jude is a slave to Sue's will. A lingering potential for violence seems ready to erupt. Although the use of magic offers the possibility of supremacy, the power of witchcraft is never equally shared.

Time and time again in Jude the Obscure, it is the female enchantress who presides over the subservient man. Phillotson is abandoned and left to fall into self-destruction while Jude is also cast aside by Sue: "I stuck to her, and she ought to have stuck to me. I'd have sold my soul for her sake, but she wouldn't risk hers a jot for me. To save her own soul she lets mine go damn" (374). Sue undertakes the demonic role of Mephistopheles as she tempts Jude into necromancy and damnation; he is deceived by her apparent loyalty. (15) What is evident is that, unlike Jude, Sue remains in complete control of her actions: "I wish my every fearless word and thought could be rooted out of my history [...] I should like to prick myself all over with pins and bleed out the badness that's in me" (345). Although the narrative unceasingly presents Sue as witch-like, her Christian transformation seems complete through her reference to pricking. This torture was used to draw the blood of a witch to break her spell and subsequently cure anyone she had cursed (Robbins 475). (16) Sue's appeal to receive this punishment exposes her desire to un-bewitch herself. Once again, therefore, the physical body must be sacrificed to save the spirit. The language of self-mutilation emphasises Sue's penance to God while female bleeding is also suggestive of menstruation. Indeed, her decision to reject both witchcraft and her identity as the masculine New Woman allows Sue to develop into a real female. The text is subsumed by allusions to the interchangability between Christianity and witchcraft. It is the formation of a new and undercover religion, however, that is at odds with both these faiths.

The Church has always been, albeit indirectly, involved with witchcraft. Only a Catholic priest was allowed to perform exorcisms while a thorough understanding of black magic was necessary for a cleric to counteract bewitchment (Giswijt-Hofstra 140). This intimacy continues to unsettle Jude the Obscure. After her already dysfunctional family disintegrates through Little Time's murder of his siblings and his own suicide, Sue finds comfort in a deserted church at night: "She might have gone to St. Silas' church, as she often went there [...] [s]he knows somebody who keeps the key and has it whenever she wants it" (348-9). Sue's furtive behaviour is designed to exclude Jude; darkness is exploited to conceal both her actions and motives. More unsettlingly perhaps is her control over the key as this symbolises something that is locked away, repressed and held secret. Furthermore, Sue's connection with a church key evokes troubling images of an underground spiritual cult. What the narrative emphasises is the woman's "queer religious" (356) behaviour as she fails to cope with bereavement: "He's filling them in, and he shan't til I've seen my little ones again [...] You said perhaps I should see them once more before they were screwed down; and then you didn't" (340). The mother will not rest until she views each corpse. It is significant that Sue's obsession with gaining contact with the dead coincides with her affiliation with a new creed. As a result, there is an implication that she has embraced Spiritualism. Sue's clandestine actions are necessary as, during this period, Spiritualism radically incorporated belief in both Christianity and the supernatural to stimulate fierce controversy (Dunwich 120). (17) What becomes apparent, therefore, is that the novel's estrangement from witchcraft is never complete. The paranormal continues to permeate the Church's rigid boundaries to produce disconcerting religious sects.

Paralleling the Spiritualist's encounter with supernatural life beyond death, the Christian mystic would have visions of dead saints, hear voices or endure levitation (nelson 135). Indeed, contact with phantoms and restless spirits forces religion into the realm of magic. It is this sense of fluidity that is relentlessly associated with Sue: "You make me hate Christianity, or mysticism, or Sacerdotalism, or whatever it may be called [...] which has caused this deterioration in you" (350). Jude is unable to comprehend her behaviour as Sue's elusive philosophies corrode her body and create a chasm between them. The language exposes his desperation as Sue cannot be physically or spiritually contained; she is a hybrid of Pagan, Christian and Spiritualist elements. What is more unsettling is the positioning of this volatile character alongside mysticism. Although Sue is previously witch-like in her ability to conjure black magic, the narrative suddenly transforms her into a medium for angels, saints and even Jesus (Kempe 11). (18) Unexpectedly, however, Sue Bridehead takes up this role as a mystic and incarcerates herself in a living-death with Phillotson. Upon discovering an embroidered nightgown that had been "bought [...] to please Jude" (364), the woman tears the item and replaces it with "a new and absolutely plain garment, of coarse and unbleached calico" (364). She symbolically destroys any reminder of sexual indulgence and fine clothing as her new life is dedicated to religion and a loveless marriage. Such repressive images interlink Sue obliquely but repeatedly with extreme mysticism. Indeed, her metamorphosis from New Woman to an anchoress seems complete. (19)

The 1890s are a decade of Spiritualism. Although Georgina Eagle, a British medium, conducted a seance before Queen Victoria in 1846, this phenomenon did not receive widespread popularity until much later (Nelson 89). More specifically, at the height of the Spiritualist movement proponents included Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and W.T Stead while the Spiritualists National Federation became formally recognized in 1891 (Nelson 125). By this time, a systematic movement towards this new religion is well established. Surprisingly, therefore, in an age that is characterised by rationality, the Spiritualist belief in the supernatural seems at odds with Victorian logic. There is a sense that technology and science have not provided adequate explanations; the Victorians looked to the paranormal for reasoning. Indeed, the undercurrent of witchcraft that unsettles David Copperfield (1849-50) is the same kind that is evident in the 'polite' explanations provided by Hardy in Jude the Obscure (1895). Even though the supernatural plays a more central role in the late-Victorian novel, its relationship with Christianity is never comforting; both the body and spirit come under attack.

(1) It is relevant to note the historical background of witchcraft as explored by Giswijt-Hofstra. Throughout this work, the emphasis lies upon the difference between the destructive anti-social use of black magic with the innocent charms and love potions of white magic. It further asserts that witchcraft is the practice of magic or sorcery by those outside the religious mainstream of a society. Interestingly, however, the existence of witchcraft in some form can be traced to pre-Christian or pagan society. Although in the early Christian centuries the Church was relatively tolerant of magical practices, this soon changed with the belief that witches appealed to the Devil to work magic for the purpose of denying, repudiating and scorning the Christian God. Such ideas culminated in the 'witch-craze' that possessed Europe from 1450 to around 1700.

(2) Charles Dickens. David Copperfield. London: Penguin, 2004. All further references to David Copperfield are to this edition and given parenthetically in the article.

(3) While the witch persecutions had substantially declined in Europe around 1700 as a result of the Age of Enlightenment, one of the last outbreaks of witch-hunting occurred in 1692 in Salem in the USA. An irrational chain of events, which resulted in the death of twenty villagers, started when a group of supposedly bewitched young girls were found playing at magic. A subsequent witch-hunt occurred but soon turned into mass hysteria as personal and religious differences between members of the community exacerbated the event, as explained by Giswijt-Hofstra (11).

(4) McDonagh explores how during this period, fairies were believed to abduct a person and put a changeling in their place which could only be driven out by inflicting pain upon the supernatural aggressor.

(5) Robbins explains that misfortunes, disease and injuries suffered by animals or property were called maleficia. It was widely believed that witches made a threat of evil (damnum minatum) and then any ensuing adversity (malum secutum) was regarded as their fault.

(6) Additionally, in this work Davies gives examples of how, in early modern England, the flow of rural migrants to an ever-expanding London did not necessarily lead to breaks in social relations between village and town. As such, Victorian London retained many rural beliefs in folklore and witchcraft.

(7) It is relevant to note that during the period that Thomas Hardy was writing Jude the Obscure (1895), there is still evidence that people retained a popular belief in witchcraft. Robbins gives numerous examples of nineteenth-century bewitchment (473). Indeed, during the 1920s an elderly woman living in Sussex was visited and asked to provide cures for local villagers who believed her to be a witch. It was reported that she was seen out accompanied by five imps in the form of a rat, a cat, a toad, a ferret and a mouse. Perhaps the most famous example of fairy abduction was that of the Irishwoman Bridget Cleary in 1895 in Ballyvadlea near Clonmel as discussed by Giswijt-Hofstra (143) who explains that the woman's husband, father and a wellknown herb doctor attempted to drive out the fairy changeling within her and bring back the real Bridget. Believing that the fairy would leave the house through the chimney, they held Bridget over a turf fire and covered her in lamp oil. Inevitably she died from her burns and her husband and cousin buried her body in a nearby swamp.

(8) Thomas Hardy. Jude the Obscure. London: Penguin, 1998. All further references to Jude the Obscure are to this edition and given parenthetically in the article.

(9) It is also relevant to note that in this work Firor goes into detail on Hardy's childhood connection with persons who clung to primitive beliefs in magic. She explains how in The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, Mrs Hardy quotes passages from her husband's journal which shows how the theme of witchcraft fascinated him.

(10) It is interesting that Pickering (177) explains how witches were thought to offer 'anaphrodisiacs' that would calm undesired passions. It was thought that such charms would allow the person to forget old loves and to concentrate on new prospects.

(11) These lines are spoken by Lady Macbeth in order to ease Macbeth's conscience after she encouraged him to murder King Duncan. At this point in the play it seems to be the woman that is in control and wants to fulfil the weird sisters' predictions.

(12) The importance of christening a newborn child is a topic that had previously emerged in Hardy's 1891 publication of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (96-7). In contrast to Arabella Donn in Jude the Obscure, however, Tess is desperate for her dying baby to have a Christian burial and is forced to perform the ceremony herself. Consequently, this implies that Hardy was aware of how vulnerable an un-christened child would be without this form of spiritual protection.

(13) See, for example, Ledger (9). During the 1880s and 1890s, attitudes towards women changed dramatically as a result of the Woman Question. The development of self-assured women voicing opinions and challenging male authority led to the emergence of what became known as the New Woman. The New Woman was 'christened' in 1894 and represented a generation of women that protested against social restrictions, the confinements of motherhood and the lack of female education. It is also relevant to note Cunningham's The New Woman and the Victorian Novel that dedicates an entire chapter to Thomas Hardy and his portrayal of the New Woman. This critic argues that Sue, with her quivering nerves and anti-marriage sentiments, is a typical New Woman of the neurotic school. She does, however, suggest that many attributes of Hardy's heroines are also those of the New Woman.

(14) This critic explains that a Sabbat was a gathering of witches to swear allegiance to the Devil while also casting spells, indulging in drink, food and orgiastic sex. The Sabbat was an integral part of witchcraft.

(15) Hardy's language seems to imply parallels with Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, with images of Jude exchanging his soul for sorcery (Marlowe 2.1.81-85). In contrast to Marlowe's tragedy, however, this text permits Sue to denounce heresy and revert back to a Christian faith.

(16) Robbins explains how it was believed that after releasing the blood of a witch her familiar, who was helping in her bewitchment, would leave the victim to come and feed from his mistress's blood. As such, the spell would be broken and the sin of the witch would be proved by the recovery of her victim.

(17) Dunwich emphasises the relationship between spiritualism and witchcraft. She explains how witches were believed to able to speak to the dead or have the spirit use their own body to communicate. This form of Spiritualism is known as Channeling and is traditionally attempted on Samhain, the night of the year when the divide between the living and dead was thought to be weak. The issue of the emergence of Spiritualism in general is discussed by Nelson in Spiritualism and Society. This critic explains how the Spiritualism phenomenon swept across America before being brought to England by the Fox sisters and Daniel Douglas Home in 1852. Such people argued that the human personality survived after death and was often accused of mysterious knockings, rappings and spirit writing. The use of a medium was, therefore, essential in order to interpret such forms of communication and gain contact with the spirit of the deceased during a seance. More specifically, for a critical analysis of Spiritualism and the Victorians see Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London. Walkowitz dedicates an entire chapter to Spiritualism with regard to the Victorian feminist. She explores the case of Georgina Weldon and her struggle against her husband and the medical profession who attempted to categorise her beliefs as a form of insanity.

(18) It is perhaps relevant to note the ability of every mystic to communicate with God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The Medieval mystic Margery Kempe describes her position as a mystic and her role in carrying out the will of God on earth. She records how God enters into conversation with her during her meditations and how she experiences visions of being present at the birth of both Mary and Jesus.

(19) It is relevant to note the practice of the anchoress as discussed in great depth throughout Jantzen's Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian. In this work, Jantzen draws attention to the Medieval practice of male (anchorite) and female (anchoress) solitary enclosure within an anchorhold attached to the side of the church. Their role was to be set apart for prayer and communication with God. The idea of the anchoress's 'death to the world' was symbolised in the requiem Mass being sung before the anchoress was bolted inside her anchorhold which was then to be considered her grave. Once confined, the anchoress normally stayed within the anchorhold until her death. It is interesting that the two most influential anchoresses, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, were both mystics that recorded their holy visions and strange levitations.

Works Cited

Atterbury, Paul. "Steam and Speed: Industry, Transport and Communications". The Victorian Vision. Ed. John M. Mackenzie. London: Victoria and Albert Publication, 2001. 147-185.

Bristow, Joseph. Sexuality. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Cunningham, Gail. The New Woman and the Victorian Novel. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1978.

Davies, Owen, "Urbanisation and the Decline of Witchcraft: An Examination of London". The Witchcraft Reader. Ed. Darren Oldridge. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. 399-412.

Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. London: Penguin, 2004.

Dunwich, Gerina. The A-Z of Wicca. London and Basingstoke: Citadel Press, 1997.

Firor, Ruth A. "Folkways in Thomas Hardy". Thomas Hardy: Family History. Ed. Norman Page. vol. 10. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1931. 1-367

Gijswijt-Hofstra, Marijke and Brian P. Levack, and Roy Porter. Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. London: Athlone P, 1999.

Goldman, Paul. Victorian Illustrated Book 1850--1870: The Heyday of Wood-Engraving. London: British Museum P, 1994.

Hanham, H.J. The Nineteenth-Century Constitution 1815--1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

Hardy, Thomas. Jude the Obscure. London: Penguin, 1998.

Jantzen, Grace Marion. Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian. London: SPCK, 1987.

Kempe, Margery. Book of Margery Kempe. Trans. Windeatt, B.A. London: Penguin, 1994.

Ledger, Sally. The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the 'Fin de Siecle'. Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 1997.

Marlowe, Christopher. Doctor Faustus. Doctor Faustus and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.

McDonagh, Josephine. Child Murder and British Culture 1720-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.

Nelson, Geoffrey K. Spiritualism and Society. London: Routledge, 1969.

Oldridge, Darren. ed. The Witchcraft Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Pickering, David. Dictionary of Witchcraft. London: Cassell, 1996.

Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. London: Peter Nevill, 1959.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. The Norton Shakespeare: Tragedies. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean. E Howard and Katherine Eiseaman Maus. New York and London: Norton, 1997.

Stone, Harry. Dickens and the Invisible World: Fairytales, Fantasy and Novel Making. London: Macmillan, 1980.

Walkowitz, Judith R. City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London. London: Virago, 1994.


Viktorya Donemi Ingiltere'sindeki bilimsel gelismeler ile Charles Dickens ve Thomas Hardy'nin gercekci romanlari arasinda sistematik bir uyumsuzluk vardir. Gercekten de, cadi avi temasi David Copperfield ve Jude the Obscure romanlarini acimasizca sikintiya sokmaktadir. Daha acik olmak gerekirse, eril kahramanin gelisimi uzerine odaklanan bu eserlerde cadi avinin varligi hareketin ilerlemesine ket vurmaktadir. Yine de, Dickens'in basitce dogaustu ile toplumun disina itilmis insanlar arasinda kurdugu baga karsit olarak, Hardy eserinde cadi avini merkezi bir sorun olarak ele almasiyla daha sorunlu ve karmasik bir yaklasimi benimsemektedir. Hardy'nin eserinde buyuculuk temasi Hiristiyanlik alanina sizmaktadir: Sue'nun buyu yapan Yeni Kadin imgesinden medyum imgesine donusumu din, buyu ve modernizmin akiskan sinirlarini ortaya koymaktadir. Bununla birlikte, her iki romanda da kara buyu tehdidi bir gercektir ve kontrol altina alinmalidir. Ozellikle cadi avi ve onun gercekci romandaki sunumu acik sozlu bir bicimde ifade edilmekten uzaktir; sinsice zarar veren fakat israrla acik ve ana konu olarak ele alinmasi engellenen cadi avi Viktorya donemdeki insanlarin goz ardi etmeyi tercih ettikleri cinsellik ve bedene yonelik belli konulara da dikkati cekmektedir.
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Author:Webb, Jessica
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Date:Mar 22, 2007
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