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Supernatural Cities - Enchantment Anxiety and Spectrality - cover

Supernatural Cities - Enchantment Anxiety and Spectrality

Karl Bell

Publisher: Boydell Press

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Summary

Since the Enlightenment, supernatural beliefs and practices have largely been derided as ignorant and un-modern - even anti-modern - and cities, being the ultimate symbol of progress and rationality, have not been thought to harbour magic. Scholars have long assumed that the world of the supernatural withered under the impact of urbanisation; yet, as numerous books, films and T.V. series from Hellboy to Being Human to the Harry Potter franchise show, contemporary culture remains fascinated by urban-based legends and fantasy.   This collection seeks to spur interest in the urban supernatural and argues for its prevalence, importance and vitality by presenting a rich cultural history of the complex relationship between supernatural beliefs and practices, imagination and storytelling, and urbanisation. Grouped around themes of enchantment, anxiety and spectrality, it explores urban supernatural cultures on five continents between the late eighteenth century and the present day. The book advances a ground-breaking exploration of the communal and cultural function of urban supernatural ideas, demonstrating how they have continually been appropriated and updated to express and accommodate socio-cultural, economic and environmental anxieties and needs.   Drawing together a diverse range of academic approaches, with contributions from historians, geographers, anthropologists, folklorists and literary scholars, it makes an important contribution to our understanding of how urban environments, both past and present, inform our imaginations, cultural insecurities and spatial fears.    KARL BELL is Reader in Cultural and Social History at the University of Portsmouth.  CONTRIBUTORS: Karl Bell, Oliver Betts, Alex Bevan, Tracy Fahey, Deirdre Flynn, Maria del Pilar Blanco, William Pooley, Elena Pryamikova, David J. Puglia, William Redwood, Morag Rose, Alevtina Solovyova, Tom Sykes, Natalya Veselkova, Mikhail Vandyshev, David Waldron, Sharn Waldron, Felicity Wood

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