The spell that Gilbert Norrell used to restore Emma Wintertowne (Lady Pole) from the dead places the duty of the actual resurrection on a summoned fairy. The fairy is summoned by reciting a spell; in the case of Emma Wintertowne, the fairy that Norrell summoned was the gentleman with the thistle-down hair. In order to persuade the fairy to help him, Norrell bargained away half of her life. It seems that the fairy not only returns the dead person to life, but also controls the qualities that the person will have when resurrected. This can be seen in Emma Wintertowne: the formerly pale, sickly woman became athletic and talkative when returned to life.

Jonathan Strange also used a spell to return several dead Neapolitan soldiers to a form of life while serving as the Duke of Wellington's magician; however, this was clearly not the same spell used by Norrell. In Strange's spell, the soldiers were not returned to the fullness of life, but were merely walking corpses.

Synchronicity. A term coined and described by the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Considering the fact that JS&MN takes place from 1808 onwards, the synchronicity of the matter is obvious in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and in the discoveries Luigi Galvani.

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Frog legs started moving independently from their severed heads from 1780 onwards. Summoning the dead suddenly seemed coming up next!


A lot has been written about the novel featuring the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who created a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Mary Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty in 1818. Shelley had travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim where, two centuries before, an alchemist (practical magician!) was engaged in experiments. The topic of galvanism was a recurrent theme of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley.

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Now doesn't this contemporary carricature ring any bells (pun intended)?