Supernatural Cities: Enchantment, Anxiety and Spectrality [Hardback]

Karl Bell(Editor)

ISBN: 9781783274413 | Published by: Boydell Press | Year of Publication: 2019 | 323p, H9.25 x W6.25, 8 black and white
Status: In Stock - Available

Supernatural Cities


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

Table of Contents

Introduction: Mapping the Urban Mindscape: The City and the Supernatural - Karl Bell
Magical Capital: Witchcraft and the Press in Paris, c.1789-1939 - William Pooley
Fatal Seductions, False Promises and Urban Enchantments: The Mamlambo, the Blesser, and the Consumer in South African Cities - Felicity Wood
'The Banshee Lives in the Handball Alley': Limerick City as a Folk Gothic Site - Tracy Fahey
Urban Energy: Cartographies of the Esoteric City - William Redwood
The Occultism of the New York Slums: Perceptions and Apparitions c.1850-1930 - Oliver Betts
Manila-as-Hell: Horror, Geopolitics and Religious Orientalism in Anglo-American Literary Constructions of an Asian City, 1946-2013 - Tom Sykes
The Goatman and Washington, D.C.: Strange Sightings and the Fear of the Encroaching City - David J. Puglia
Horror Stories of Young Ural Cities - Elena Pryamikova and Mikhail Vandyshev and Natalia Veselkova
The London Underground: A Supernatural Subterranean Heterotopia - Alex Bevan
The Uncanny City: Delving into the Sewers and Subconscious of Tokyo in Haruki Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Deirdre Flynn
Ghosts on the Goldfields: Ballarat as a Haunted City - Sharn Waldron and David Waldron
Spectral Mexico City - Maria del Pilar Blanco
Ghostlore of Contemporary Beijing - Alevtina Solovyova
'There's Something in the Water!' A Psychogeographical Exploration of What Lurks Beneath the Surface of Manchester - Morag Rose

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