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The Re-Enchantment of the WorldSecular Magic in a Rational Age$
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Joshua Landy and Michael Saler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804752992

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804752992.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

Permanent Re-Enchantments: On Some Literary Uses of the Supernatural from Early Empiricism to Modern Aesthetics

Permanent Re-Enchantments: On Some Literary Uses of the Supernatural from Early Empiricism to Modern Aesthetics

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter 9 Permanent Re-Enchantments: On Some Literary Uses of the Supernatural from Early Empiricism to Modern Aesthetics
Source:
The Re-Enchantment of the World
Author(s):

Nicholas Paige

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804752992.003.0010

This chapter examines secular strategies for rediscovering the supernatural. New understandings of fiction permitted Enlightenment-era Europeans to find an acceptable outlet for their fascination with otherworldly phenomena in the protected space of literature. In the mid-eighteenth century, “fantastic” and “realist” fiction were both understood as inhabiting an imaginative realm that was taken for “real” while readers inhabited it. The imagination itself was seen as helping to constitute reality, a move that anticipated twentieth-century phenomenology and pragmatism. This chapter concludes that it was the Enlightenment that originally gave birth to the possibility for experiencing fiction as the site of a disenchanted enchantment, one which is “real” only as long as the story lasts.

Keywords:   Enlightenment-era Europeans, Enlightenment literature, realist fiction, imagination, twentieth-century phenomenology

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