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The Meanings of Magic: From the Bible to Buffalo Bill

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Volume 11

Polygons: Cultural Diversities and Intersections

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The Meanings of Magic

From the Bible to Buffalo Bill

Edited by Amy Wygant†

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

252 pages, bibliog., Index

ISBN  978-1-84545-178-3 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (December 2006)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"While there is not clear theme that binds such a divers range of essays together, the book's diversity is in fact one of its pleasures. It will lead students and scholars into areas they might not be familiar with or in which they previously had not interest."  ·  MLR


The notion of "magic" is a current popular culture phenomenon. Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, the commercial glamour of the footballer and the pop idol surround us with their charisma, enchantment, and charm. But magic also exerts a terrifying political hold upon us: bin Laden's alleged March 28 e-mail message spoke of the attacks on America in form of "crushing its towers, disgracing its arrogance, undoing its magic." The nine scholars included in this volume consider the cultural power of magic, from early Christianity and the ancient Mediterranean to the curious film career of Buffalo Bill, focusing on topics such as Surrealism, France in the classical age, alchemy, and American fundamentalism, ranging from popular to elite magic, from theory to practice, from demonology to exoticism, from the magic of memory to the magic of the stage. As these essays show, magic defines the limit of both science and religion but as such remains indefinable.

Amy Wygant† lectures in early modern literature and culture at the University of Glasgow. She is a co-founder of Women in French in Scotland (WIFIS), and the editor of Seventeenth-Century French Studies. Her publications include Towards a Cultural Philology: Phædre and the Construction of "Racine" (Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre, 1999) as well as numerous articles on witchcraft and demonology, tragedy, opera, and psychoanalysis. Her current book-length project is Medea, Magic, and Modernity, and she is editing a special edition of the Forum for Modern Language Studies (2007) on "Stagecraft and Witchcraft".

Subject: General Cultural Studies


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Magic, Glamour, Curses
Amy Wygant


Chapter 1. Magic and the Millennium
David S. Katz

Chapter 2. Showman or Shaman? The Acts of a Biblical Prophet
Mark Brummitt

Chapter 3. Curse Tablets and Binding Spells in the Greco-Roman World
John G. Gager

Chapter 4. Magic, Healing and Early Christianity: Consumption and Competition
Justin Meggitt


Chapter 5. All the Devils: Port-Royal and Pedagogy in Seventeenth-Century France
Nicholas Hammond

Chapter 6. The Magic of French Culture: Transforming "Savages" into French Catholics in Seventeenth-Century France
Sara E. Melzer

Chapter 7. A Magus of the North? Professor John Ferguson and his Library
David Weston

Chapter 8. The Golden Fleece and Harry Potter
Amy Wygant

Chapter 9. Cowboys and Magicians: Buffalo Bill, Houdini and Real Magic
Ronald G. Walters

Chapter 10. The Search for a New Dimension: Surrealism and Magic
Alyce Mahon

Notes on Contributors

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