Phantasmagoria
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Phantasmagoria : Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media into the Twenty-first Century

4.09 (110 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Phantasmagoria explores ideas of spirit and soul since the Enlightenment; it traces metaphors that have traditionally conveyed the presence of immaterial forces, and reveals how such pagan and Christian imagery about ethereal beings is embedded in a logic of the imagination, clothing spirits in the languages of air, clouds, light and shadow, glass, and ether itself. Moving from Wax to Film, the book discusses key questions of imagination and cognition, and probes the perceived distinctions between fantasy and deception; it uncovers a host of spirit forms - angels, ghosts, fairies, revenants, and zombies - that are still actively present in contemporary culture. It reveals how their transformations over time illuminate changing idea about the self. Phantasmagoria also tells the accompanying story about the means used to communicate such ideas, and relates how the new technologies of the Victorian era were applied to figuring the invisible and the impalpable, and how magic lanterns (the phantasmagoria shows themselves), radio, photography and then moving pictures spread ideas about spirit forces. As the story unfolds, the book features many eminent scientists and philosophers who applied their considerable energies to the question of other worlds and other states of mind: they staged trance seances in which mediums produced spirit phenomena, including ectoplasm. Phantasmagoria shows how this often surprising story connects with some of the important scientific discoveries of a fertile age, in psychology and physics, and continues to influence contemporary experience.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 156 x 230 x 40mm | 762.03g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 8pp color plates, numerous halftones
  • 0199239231
  • 9780199239238
  • 103,137

Review quote

Phantasmagoria is a cabinet of familiar wonders: a jetting, generous, humane spree of thought, richly quickened by the life it finds within us and abroad, in our media and machineries of mind. * Stephen Connor, The Independent * She is exquisitely alive not just to ideas and arguments, but also to the jag and whiff and tang of things. * Stephen Connor, The Independent * A densely layered book * Mike Dash, Sunday Telegraph * Marina Warner is particularly well-equipped to conduct this investigation. * Stephen Connor, The Independent * This book is a powerful statement. * Hilary Mantel,The Guardian * This book's enquiries are wide-ranging, pertinent and up-to- date. All Marina Warner's material is freshly and enticingly presented. * The Guardian, Hilary Mantel * Phantasmagoria is a fascinating history of spirited bodies and haunted machines, but a reminder too of why the metaphors still get under our skin * Brian Dillon, Daily Telegraph * It is a book of wonders. * Hilary Mantel,The Guardian * As always Warner's scholarship, eclecticism and inventiveness dazzle. * Bel Mooney, The Times * Phantasmagoria is a cabinet of familiar wonders: a jetting, generous, humane spree of thought, richly quickened by the life it finds within us and adroad, in our media and machineries of mind. * Steven Connor, The Independent * She is exquisitely alive not just to ideas and arguments, but also to the jag and whiff and tang of things * Steven Connor, The Independent * Marina Warner is particularly well-equipped to conduct this investigation * Steven Connor, The Independent * Frighteningly literate and well-informed * Roz Kaveney, Time Out * The general effect is rather like that of reading through a first-class encyclopedia. * Nigel Barley, Times Higher Education Supplement * Review from previous edition ...often manages splendidly vivid pictorial evocations ... a bold, imaginative and provocative study, with a range few other writers would dare. * Carolyne Larrington, Times Literary Supplement * The sprawl of Warner's thesis is slightly overwhelming but her passion seeps right through to the last page. * Observer. * Rigorous research, dazzling cross-disciplinary leaps ... her passion seeps right through to the last page. * Observer Review. *show more

About Marina Warner

Marina Warner has written extensively on mythology and fairy tales. Her novels and works of criticism have won her the Fawcett Prize, a Booker Prize nomination, the Rosemary Crawshay Prize, and a Commonwealth Writer's Prize. Internationally she has been created Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French, Commendatore by the Italians, and was awarded the Warburg Prize in Germany. In addition to being Professor of Literature at the University of Essex, she is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and a Visiting Professor at St Andrews University. In 2005 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.show more

Table of contents

I. WAX; II. AIR; III. CLOUDS; IV. LIGHT; V. SHADOW; VI. MIRROR; VII. GHOST; VIII. ETHER; IX. ECTOPLASM; X. FILMshow more

Review Text

Rigorous research, dazzling cross-disciplinary leaps ... her passion seeps right through to the last page. Observer Review.show more

Rating details

110 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 37% (41)
4 40% (44)
3 17% (19)
2 5% (6)
1 0% (0)
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