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Bram Stoker, Ellen Terry, Pamela Colman Smith and the Art of Devilry

Cockin, Katharine


Katharine Cockin



When Oscar Wilde designated Ellen Terry ‘Our Lady of the Lyceum’ (Robertson, 1931: 149), the Marian terminology positioned the Lyceum Theatre itself as a sacred space or seat of worship. It was Henry Irving’s temple, with Bram Stoker as his trusted business manager, where he gained a reputation for playing both saints and sinners: the fiendish Mephistopheles in Faust (1885) and guilt-ridden murderer, Mathias, in The Bells (1871) as well as Oliver Goldsmith’s well-meaning Vicar and Tennyson’s martyred Becket. Matters of faith and morality were respected by Irving and Terry, although in somewhat unorthodox fashion. They unexpectedly gained the respect of Henry Ward Beecher (1813–87), who preached love and questioned the existence of hell (Hatton, 1884, pp. 155–61) but they found they shared similar values and a belief in the redemptive power of doing good. This was the age of exploration into new ways of thinking and living and the nature of the spiritual world was a central concern. Philip Holden (2001) has described this period as one in which mesmerism and the occult were so familiar that they had attained a certain banality. Mesmer himself features in Stoker’s Famous Impostors (1910) and a mysterious artefact attributed to him appears in Chapter XIII (entitled ‘Mesmer’s Chest’) of Stoker’s novel, The Lair of the White Worm (1911).


Cockin, K. (2016). Bram Stoker, Ellen Terry, Pamela Colman Smith and the Art of Devilry. In C. Wynne (Ed.), Bram Stoker and the Gothic (159-171). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 15, 2023
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 159-171
Series Title The Palgrave Gothic Series
Book Title Bram Stoker and the Gothic
Chapter Number 10
ISBN 978-1-349-55468-3
Public URL