Conjuring Asia: Magic, Orientalism and the Making of the by Chris Goto-Jones

By Chris Goto-Jones

The promise of magic has constantly commanded the human mind's eye, however the tale of commercial modernity is mostly obvious as a means of disenchantment. Drawing at the writings and performances of the so-called 'Golden Age Magicians' from the flip of the 20th century, Chris Goto-Jones unveils the ways that eu and North American encounters with (and representations of) Asia - the fabled Mystic East - labored to re-enchant reviews of the trendy international. starting with a reconceptualization of the that means of 'modern magic' itself - relocating past traditional different types of 'real' and 'fake' magic - Goto-Jones' acclaimed e-book publications us on a mystical secret journey round India, China and Japan, exhibiting us levitations and decapitations, magic duels and bullet catches, goldfish bowls and paper butterflies. after all, this enchanting booklet unearths Orientalism as one of those magic in itself, casting a spell over Western tradition that leaves it remodeled even this present day.

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Seems to be viewed with deep suspicion. This is despite (or because of) the fact that magical theory (for magicians) is valued primarily as a means to enhance the accomplishment of magical effects. The idea that theory is valuable in its own right (perhaps as a historical artefact) is somewhat alien to magicians, even as it is basic to the academy. In this way, the politics of the field borders the politics of the history of esotericism in the academy in general, where the magical, occult, and esoteric is frequently represented as the antithesis of scholarship.

Anderson, The Fashionable Science of Parlour Magic, Being The Newest Tricks of Deception, Developed and Illustrated, To Which Is Added an Exposure, of the Practices Made Use of by Professional Card Players, Blacklegs, and Gamblers. Self Published, 1848. 28 / Conjuring Asia and has done so much to fill our lunatic asylums.. . The doctrine of so-called Spiritualism embodies an abstract principle and a concrete fact – the principle being that ‘those who have plenty of money and no brains were made for those who have plenty of brains and no money’; and the fact is, that the ranks of the Spiritualists have ever been largely recruited from these two classes.

154. 18 Rather than being seen as a simple anti-modern movement or ‘revolt against positivism’,19 as has often been assumed, it’s possible to see the mystical revival as an intrinsic feature of modernity, with elements of it attempting to mirror the scientific quest to gain knowledge and mastery of the physical world with the quest for (at least pseudo-scientific) knowledge and mastery of the non-material world. 20 That is, scientific advancements were the allies of technological and mechanical marvels as well as psychic experimentation.

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