Lure of the Arcane: The Literature of Cult and Conspiracy

Overview

Fascination with the arcane is a driving force in this comprehensive survey of conspiracy fiction. Theodore Ziolkowski traces the evolution of cults, orders, lodges, secret societies, and conspiracies through various literary manifestations—drama, romance, epic, novel, opera—down to the thrillers of the twenty-first century.

Lure of the Arcane considers Euripides’s Bacchae, Andreae’s Chymical Wedding, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, among other seminal ...

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Lure of the Arcane: The Literature of Cult and Conspiracy

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Overview

Fascination with the arcane is a driving force in this comprehensive survey of conspiracy fiction. Theodore Ziolkowski traces the evolution of cults, orders, lodges, secret societies, and conspiracies through various literary manifestations—drama, romance, epic, novel, opera—down to the thrillers of the twenty-first century.

Lure of the Arcane considers Euripides’s Bacchae, Andreae’s Chymical Wedding, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, among other seminal works. Mimicking the genre’s quest-driven narrative arc, the reader searches for the significance of conspiracy fiction and is rewarded with the author’s cogent reflections in the final chapter. After much investigation, Ziolkowski reinforces Umberto Eco’s notion that the most powerful secret, the magnetic center of conspiracy fiction, is in fact "a secret without content."

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - Ritchie Robertson
Conspiracies, whether attributed to mystery cults. Freemasons, Socialists, or Rosicrucians, pervade literature from Euripides to Umberto Eco, as Theodore Ziolkowski shows in Lure of the Arcane. Ziolkowski has read everything, taking even a 3,000-page German novel in his stride, and summarizes and analyses his material fascinatingly for lesser mortals.
Choice

This is a literary and cultural history for the 21st century: fascinating in scope and focus, striking in its attention to detail, solid in its continuity, and indisputably erudite.

Choice
This is a literary and cultural history for the 21st century: fascinating in scope and focus, striking in its attention to detail, solid in its continuity, and indisputably erudite.
Times Literary Supplement - Oliver Harris
An erudite, thought-provoking argument for considering this literary engagement as a sub-genre in its own right.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421409580
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2013
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,034,643
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Ziolkowski is a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Princeton University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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