Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America

Overview

"In Wonder Shows, Fred Nadis offers a colorful history of traveling magicians, inventors, popular science lecturers, and other presenters of "miracle science" who revealed science and technology to the public in awe-inspiring fashion. The book provides an innovative synthesis of the history of performance with a wider study of culture, science, and religion from the antebellum period to the present." Although most recent defenders of science are prone to reject wonder, considering it an ally of ignorance and superstition, Wonder Shows ...
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Overview

"In Wonder Shows, Fred Nadis offers a colorful history of traveling magicians, inventors, popular science lecturers, and other presenters of "miracle science" who revealed science and technology to the public in awe-inspiring fashion. The book provides an innovative synthesis of the history of performance with a wider study of culture, science, and religion from the antebellum period to the present." Although most recent defenders of science are prone to reject wonder, considering it an ally of ignorance and superstition, Wonder Shows demonstrates that the public's passion for magic and meaning is still very much alive. Today, sales continue to be made and allegiances won based on illusions that products are unique, singular, and at best, miraculous. Nadis establishes that contemporary showmen, corporate publicists, advertisers, and popular science lecturers are not that unlike the magicians and mesmerists of years ago.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813535159
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : beyond the z-ray 3
Ch. 1 The electric wonder show 21
Ch. 2 The techno-wizard 48
Ch. 3 The hypnotist 85
Ch. 4 The magician 113
Ch. 5 The mind reader 138
Ch. 6 The missionaries 179
Ch. 7 Flying saucers 211
Ch. 8 The many gospels 230
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