Magical Thinking: History, Possibility and the Idea of the Occult

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A&C Black, Dec 8, 2011 - History - 200 pages
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How do we write about magic?

Responding to a renewed interest in the history of the occult, this volume examines the role of magic in a series of methodological controversies in the humanities. In case studies ranging from the 'necromancy' of historiography to the strident rationalism of the 'New Atheism,' Magical Thinking sets out the surprising ways in which scholars and critics have imagined the occult. The volume argues that thinking and writing about magic has engendered multiple epistemological crises, profoundly unsettling the understanding of history and knowledge in Western culture. By examining how scholarly writing has contended and conspired with discourses of enchantment, the book reveals the implications of magic - and its scholarship - for intellectual history.

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Magic as an Object of Study in
Periodization and the Politics
The Necromantic Imagination
Demonological Aesthetics
Where is the Ritual in Ritual Magic?
Religious Hybridity in Late
The Experimental
Does Magic Work?

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About the author (2011)

Stuart McWilliams is Lecturer in English at Šbo Akademi University, Finland. His research interests include English literary and intellectual history, medieval studies and the philosophy of history.

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