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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, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 28 February 2020

The Rocambolesque and the Modern Enchantment of Popular Fiction

The Rocambolesque and the Modern Enchantment of Popular Fiction

(p.130) Chapter 7 The Rocambolesque and the Modern Enchantment of Popular Fiction
The Re-Enchantment of the World

Robin Walz

Stanford University Press

This chapter contends that the “rocambolesque” is evidence of the counterintuitive possibility for mass production and consumption to yield specifically modern enchantments, both imaginative and self-aware. What distinguished Pierre Alexis Ferdinand Joseph de Ponson from other feuilleton writers was the fact that his narratives relentlessly defied all logic and probability. These qualities made them so attractive to a mass audience. Readers were being schooled in the conventions of genre fiction and welcomed Ponson's parodies that stimulated their rational and imaginative faculties. The Rocambolesque that began with Ponson and continued through twentieth-century French culture promised endless subversions that accorded both with the commercial needs of the new publishing industry and with the imaginative needs of a new mass audience.

Keywords:   modern enchantment, mass audience, Pierre Alexis Ferdinand Joseph de Ponson, feuilleton writers, twentieth-century French culture

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