Although scientific research began long before the nineteenth century, many occupations associated with the sciences became professionalized in this period. The field of medical science is one example: whereas childbirth was traditionally supported by (women) midwives, this work shifted to (male) medical professionals with specific education and training from specialized institutions.
Psychology was not entirely separate from medical science in the nineteenth century, but the foundation of the discipline was present through early research and interest in the human mind (Marin-Lamellet 10). Even at the end of the century, the limits of psychology were debated. Prominent figures remembered for their scientific contributions believed ideas that might seem unusual by twenty-first century standards. The “father” of psychology William James believed the fringes of science would advance the field (Algaier IV 99). Similarly, contributor to the theory of evolution Alfred Wallace was interested in scientific advancements that might lead to communication with the dead (Shortt 342).
The three case studies featured in this exhibition focus on psychological themes in The Strand. As you will observe, the authors are interested in what makes the human mind human, the risks of fringe science, and how the unconscious part of the mind can influence behaviour. The themes are similar, but not identical to modern psychology. The medical professionals in the stories, when present, are not Psychologists or Psychiatrists, but rather “doctors” interested in the human mind.
To explore story summaries, high-quality scans of illustrations, and descriptions of major themes, use the three links below to navigate the case studies. After, review the Acknowledgements page for a list of sources cited throughout this exhibition.