Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date

Spring 2016


The nineteenth century, so often thought of as the age of scientific theory, technological change, and realism in fiction, abounds with supernatural phenomena. While some readers and observers of culture could define practices and texts related to the supernatural as pernicious because irreligious or unscientific, others could appreciate ghost stories at least as imaginative entertainment resulting in pleasurable fear but not otherwise significant. However, these stories can be read as serious and profound explorations of the unknown and the moral, philosophical, and spiritual questions with which we continue to struggle.

Of all the ghost stories published during the period, perhaps none enters the debate about faith, doubt, and doctrine so compellingly as Cecilia de Noel (1892) by Lanoe Falconer (Mary Elizabeth Hawker). Cecilia is particularly helpful in understanding the epistemological and spiritual conflicts of the time since it employs ghost story conventions to question prominent Christian doctrines and religiously inflected gender conventions.


This article was originally published in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies


© Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies