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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: 24 October 2019

Modern Magic: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and Stéphane Mallarmé

Modern Magic: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and Stéphane Mallarmé

(p.102) Chapter 6 Modern Magic: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and Stéphane Mallarmé
The Re-Enchantment of the World

Joshua Landy

Stanford University Press

This chapter outlines a response to the world's thoroughgoing arbitrariness, looking at the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé and the performances of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and Mallarmé set out to remedy the predicament by creating an alternative world, one which exists only in and through poetry, one where everything has to be exactly what and where it is. He also provided his readers with a formal model and the skills required for the creation of their own. In pointing to their own fictionality, the poems accustom their readers in the divided attitude required to believe in fictions they themselves have created. The chapter also notes that Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin's magic performances work in exactly the same way. It concludes that self-reflexivity at large, a central feature of literary modernism, may have emerged from this need to re-enchant the world.

Keywords:   arbitrariness, Stéphane Mallarmé, poetry, Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, magic performance, literary modernism

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