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The Magical Imagination: Magic and Modernity in Urban England, 1780-1914 Hardcover – 23 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (23 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107002001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107002005
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 427,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Karl Bell is an award-winning cultural historian. He has been a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth since 2007. Karl's research revolves around the history of the fantastical imagination. He has published on a range of topics including apocalyptic beliefs, nineteenth-century magic shows, rural folklore, urban legends, and popular superstition. His first book, The Magical Imagination: Magic and Modernity in Urban England, was short-listed for the Royal Historical Society's 2012 Whitfield Prize. His second book, The Legend of Spring-heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Culture, won the 2013 Katharine Briggs Award. He lives in Southsea, Hampshire, but his mind is frequently elsewhere.

Product Description


'This is a rich and evocative book, which, if the reader can forgive the occasional descent into social science jargon … should be required reading for any student of folklore, and will [be] of great value to anyone interested in the history of Manchester, Norwich or Portsmouth, or urban history, psychogeography or related topics.' John Rimmer, Magonia Online

Book Description

This innovative history of popular magical mentalities in nineteenth-century England reveals how the magical imagination helped people adjust to urban life. Using perspectives from cultural anthropology, sociology, folklore and urban studies, this is a major contribution to our understanding of popular magic and the lived experience of modernization and urbanization.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alex Weinle on 27 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
A far better way of surveying this field of history, Karl Bell refuses to discard the normal practice of superstition and analyses its uses to the crushed new populations of urban centres. A very human history.
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