As an exile from the Hudson Valley, I much appreciate this book for its scholarship and its grounding in the felt reality of the place. I better understand why the stories I read and heard in the Valley as a child mean so much to me as a transplant living in California. The author ranges over the tellings and retellings of various ghostly hauntings so that I better understand what previous residents thought of the major events of their time, from wars to slavery to immigration.
The cultural landscape of the Hudson River Valley is crowded with ghosts-the. These tales of haunting, Richardson argues, are no mere echoes of the past but function in an ongoing, contentious politics of place. Through its tight geographical focus, Possessions illuminates problems of belonging and possessing that haunt the nation as a whole.
The cultural landscape of the Hudson River Valley is crowded with ghosts-the ghosts of Native Americans and Dutch colonists, of Revolutionary War soldiers and spies, of presidents, slaves, priests, and laborers.
The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley. Possessions asks why this region just outside New York City became the locus for so many ghostly tales, and shows how these hauntings came to operate as a peculiar type of social memory whereby things lost, forgotten, or marginalized returned to claim possession of imaginations and territories.
and London: Harvard University Press, 2003. xi, 296 pp. The subtitle of this informative, cleanly written, and admirably documented book is both apt and revealing. As in recent studies by Rene Bergland, Kathleen Brogan, and Avery Gordon, whose influence is acknowledged, Richardson's interest lies in "haunting" as a sign of serious social division rather than in ghosts as a staple of the literary gothic.
Haunting Argentina: Synecdoche in the Protests of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Quarterly Journal of Speech 87: 237–58. Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Schlecker, Markus and Endres, Kirsten . .
Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley by Judith Richardson Harvard, 296 pp, £1. 5, October 2003, ISBN 0 674 01161 9. Judith Richardson begins Possessions by quoting a 1933 guidebook to the Hudson Valley: ‘How comes the Hudson to this unique heritage of myth, ghosts, goblins and other lore?’ By the end of her exhaustive chronicle of local history and legend the answer is self-evident: ‘Why is the Hudson Valley haunted? Perhaps a better question after all is: how on earth could it not be?’ Until I read this book, the Hudson Valley seemed remote from anguished, obvio.