Introduction Enchantment à la Mode

in The Place of Enchantment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226642017
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226642031 | DOI:
Introduction Enchantment à la Mode

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This book is concerned with the emergence toward the end of the nineteenth century of a widespread engagement with occultism, mysticism, and quite literally, magic, and deals with the parameters and significance of this engagement. It explores the links between occultism and a newly conceptualized subjectivity, that innovative sense of self which so often characterized those self-identified “we moderns” of the fin de siècle. The Place of Enchantment spans the period between 1880 and 1914, those crucial “hinge” years during which reference to “the modern” and “we moderns” took on a new and urgent meaning. Those who dedicated themselves to the study of occultism and the magical arts referred to themselves as magicians without either apology or irony. Modernity has been variously conceived as a helpful periodizing device, a philosophical discourse, a descriptive account of massive and interrelated structural processes, a discrete set of social practices, and particular kinds of lived experience and their representation.

Keywords: Occultism; subjectivity; we moderns; Place of Enchantment; hinge

Chapter.  6894 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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