Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture by Simone NataleSupernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture by Simone Natale

Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture

bySimone Natale

Paperback | May 8, 2017

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In Supernatural Entertainments, Simone Natale vividly depicts spiritualism’s rise as a religious and cultural phenomenon and explores its strong connection to the growth of the media entertainment industry in the nineteenth century. He frames the spiritualist movement as part of a new commodity culture that changed how public entertainments were produced and consumed.

Starting with the story of the Fox sisters, considered the first spiritualist mediums in history, Natale follows the trajectory of spiritualism in Great Britain and the United States from its foundation in 1848 to the beginning of the twentieth century. He demonstrates that spiritualist mediums and leaders adopted many of the promotional strategies and spectacular techniques that were being developed for the broader entertainment industry. Spiritualist mediums were indistinguishable from other professional performers, as they had managers and agents, advertised in the press, and used spectacularism to draw audiences.

Addressing the overlap between spiritualism’s explosion and nineteenth-century show business, Natale provides an archaeology of how the supernatural became a powerful force in the media and popular culture of today.

Simone Natale is Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK. Simone Natale is Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK.
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Title:Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media CultureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:May 8, 2017Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271071052

ISBN - 13:9780271071053

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Reviews

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part 1: Configurations of Séances

1 The Medium on the Stage: Theatricality and Performance in the Spirit Séance

2 Parlor Games: Play and Social Life in the Haunted House

Part 2: How to Sell a Spirit

3 Breaking the News: Controversy, Sensation, and the Popular Press

4 Mediums and Stars: Religion, Consumerism, and Celebrity Culture

Part 3: Spirit and Matter

5 Stranger than Fiction: Print Media, Automatic Writing, and Popular Culture

6 The Marvels of Superimposition: Spirit Photography and Spiritualism’s Visual Culture

Afterward

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“An important addition to the growing body of rigorous scholarship on international spiritualism. Natale’s argument, however, is fairly unexpected, even unique, inasmuch as it convincingly focuses on spiritualism as a form of show business.”

—Matthew Solomon, Film Quarterly