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Mary Melville, the Psychic:
A Critical Edition

Written by
Flora MacDonald Denison
Edited by
Thomas Hodd

Cover of Mary Melville, the Psychic
Click image for larger view of cover.

366 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9781896133676
$19.95 CA

This book is in stock and ships within 48 hours of receipt of order.

About the Book

In Mary Melville, the Psychic, there is a little of everything to disturb smug, contented people – socialism, pantheism, theosophy, evolution, spiritism, in fact all the red pepper of modern doubt and speculation. But, most of all, there is spiritism.
- Henry Franklin Gadsby

Mary Melville, The Psychic (1900) is an extraordinary Canadian cultural artifact. Written by first-wave feminist and suffrage leader Flora MacDonald (Merrill) Denison (1867-1921), this book bears witness to a transformative period in Canada´s social, literary and religious history.

Based on the life of Denison´s older sister, Mary Melville is the story of an alternative New Woman figure, a gifted young scholar with psychical abilities from small-town Ontario, whose promising life is cut short by a world not yet ready for her message or her powers. Surprisingly modern in its blending of fiction and non-fiction, Denison´s turn-of-the-century portrayal of Mary Melville as a strong young woman endowed with special psychic powers charted a new course in the representation of the New Woman figure in Canadian literature.

Although lost to literary obscurity shortly after its first publication, this new edition of Mary Melville, The Psychic sharpens the book´s twinned spiritualist-feminist themes through a lengthy critical introduction, explanatory notes, as well as reviews of the first edition and several appendices to contextualize the impact and influence of spiritualism on Victorian Canada.

back cover of Mary Melville, the Psychic
Click image for larger view of backcover.

About the Authors Thomas Hodd
Thomas Hodd is an Associate Professor of English at Université de Moncton. He has published articles on spiritualism in Early Canadian literature, the occult activities of Charles G.D. Roberts and Bliss Carman, as well as Swedenborg´s influence on William Kirby. He is the editor of A Soldier´s Place: the War Stories of Will R. Bird (Nimbus), and is currently working on a critical edition of J.W.D. Moodie´s Spiritualism Album.

Flora MacDonald Denison
Ontario-born Flora MacDonald (Merrill) Denison (1867-1921) was a first wave feminist and suffrage leader, who served as president of the Canadian Suffrage Association from 1911-1914. She worked as one of Canada´s first female journalists, penning regular columns in the Toronto World and other major newspapers; she also became one of the first female publishers of a cultural magazine in Canada when she started The Sunset of Bon Echo in the late 1910s. But Denison was also an avid psychical researcher and follower of spiritualism, and for several years was an active member in The Association for Psychical Research of Canada. Near the end of her life, she also founded the Whitman Club of Bon Echo, and was instrumental in getting a carving of an "Old Walt" inscription on a cliff face on Lake Mazinaw, in Bon Echo Provincial Park – a carving that stands to this day. A feisty and trailblazing figure through her articles, short stories, pamphlets, and heterodox beliefs, Denison challenged and helped re-define what it meant to be a feminist in Victorian Canada.

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