Modern Enchantments

Modern Enchantments

by Simon During
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674013719

ISBN-13: 9780674013711

Pub. Date: 03/01/2004

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Magic, Simon During suggests, has helped shape modern culture. Devoted to this deceptively simple proposition, During's superlative work, written over the course of a decade, gets at the aesthetic questions at the very heart of the study of culture. How can the most ordinary arts--and by "magic," During means not the supernatural, but the special effects and

Overview

Magic, Simon During suggests, has helped shape modern culture. Devoted to this deceptively simple proposition, During's superlative work, written over the course of a decade, gets at the aesthetic questions at the very heart of the study of culture. How can the most ordinary arts--and by "magic," During means not the supernatural, but the special effects and conjurings of magic shows--affect people?

Modern Enchantments takes us deeply into the history and workings of modern secular magic, from the legerdemain of Isaac Fawkes in 1720, to the return of real magic in nineteenth-century spiritualism, to the role of magic in the emergence of the cinema. Through the course of this history, During shows how magic performances have drawn together heterogeneous audiences, contributed to the molding of cultural hierarchies, and extended cultural technologies and media at key moments, sometimes introducing spectators into rationality and helping to disseminate skepticism and publicize scientific innovation. In a more revealing argument still, Modern Enchantments shows that magic entertainments have increased the sway of fictions in our culture and helped define modern society's image of itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674013711
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.73(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Magic History: An Introduction

2. Enchantment and Loss: Theorizing Secular Magic

3. Egg-Bag Tricks and Electricity: The Founding of Modern Commercial Conjuring

4. Magic's Moment: The Illusion Business

5. From Magic to Film

6. Magic and Literature

7. Magic Places: The Lyceum and the Great Room, Spring Gardens

8. Spiritualism and the Birth of Optical Technologies

Notes

Index

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