As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality

Paperback | January 23, 2012

byMichael Saler

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Many people throughout the world "inhabit" imaginary worlds communally and persistently, parsing Harry Potter and exploring online universes. These activities might seem irresponsibly escapist, but history tells another story. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, when Sherlock Holmesbecame the world's first "virtual reality" character, readers began to colonize imaginary worlds, debating serious issues and viewing reality in provisional, "as if" terms rather than through essentialist, "just so" perspectives. From Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and Tolkien's Middle-earth to theWorld of Warcraft and Second Life, As If provides a cultural history that reveals how we can remain enchanted but not deluded in an age where fantasy and reality increasingly intertwine.

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Many people throughout the world "inhabit" imaginary worlds communally and persistently, parsing Harry Potter and exploring online universes. These activities might seem irresponsibly escapist, but history tells another story. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, when Sherlock Holmesbecame the world's first "virtual reality" chara...

Michael Saler is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis.

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As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality
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Kobo ebook|Dec 29 2011

$16.99 online$21.99list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.79 inPublished:January 23, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195343174

ISBN - 13:9780195343175

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPart One: Contexts1. Living In the Imagination2. Delight without Delusion: The New Romance, Spectacular Texts, and Public SpheresPart Two: Cases3. Clap If You Believe in Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle and Animistic Reason4. From "Virtual Unreality" to Virtual Reality: H.P. Lovecraft and Public Spheres of the Imagination5. The Middle Positions of Middle-earth: J.R.R. Tolkien and FictionalismEnvoiBibliographyIndex