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Ghosts and spectres, the eerie and the occult. Why is contemporary culture so preoccupied by the supernatural, so captivated by the revenants of an earlier age, so haunted? The concept of Hauntology has evolved since first emerging in the 1990s, and has now entered the cultural mainstream as a shorthand for our new-found obsession with...
London, more than any other city, has a secret history concealed from view. Behind the official facade promoted by the heritage industry, lies a city of esoteric traditions and obscure institutions, of lost knowledge and hidden locations. Occult London rediscovers this hidden history, unearthing the secret city and its...
The Art of Wandering is a history of that strange but prolific hybrid, the writer as walker. From the peripatetic philosophers of Ancient Greece to the streets of twentieth-century London, Paris and New York, this figure has continued to evolve through the centuries, the philosopher and the Romantic giving way...
Ghosts and specters, the eerie and the occult. Why is contemporary culture so preoccupied by the supernatural, so captivated by the revenants of an earlier age, so haunted? The concept of Hauntology has evolved since first emerging in the 1990s, and has now entered the cultural mainstream as a shorthand for our new-found obsession with the recent past. But where does this term come from and what exactly does it mean?This book seeks to answer these questions by examining the history of our fascination with the uncanny from the golden age of the Victorian ghost story to the present day. From Dickens to Derrida, MR James to Mark Fisher; from the rise of Spiritualism to the folk horror revival, Hauntology traces our continuing engagement with these esoteric ideas. Moving between the literary and the theoretical, the visual and the political, Hauntology explores our nostalgia for the cultural artifacts of a past from which we seem unable to break free.
Psychogeography. Increasingly this term is used to illustrate a bewildering array of ideas from ley lines and the occult, to urban walking and political radicalism. But where does it come from and what exactly does it mean? Psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet in assessing the emotional and behavioural impact of urban space. The relationship between a city and its inhabitants is measured in two ways - firstly through an imaginative and literary response, secondly on foot through walking the city. From Urban Wandering to the Society of the Spectacle, from the Derive to Detournement, Psychogeography provides us with new ways of apprehending our surroundings, transforming the familiar streets of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected. This guide conducts the reader through this process, offering both an explanation and definition of the terms involved, an analysis of the key figures and their work as well as practical information on Psychogeographical groups and organisations.
London, more than any other city, has a secret history concealed from view. Behind the official facade promoted by the heritage industry, lies a city of esoteric traditions and obscure institutions, of lost knowledge and hidden locations. Occult London rediscovers this hidden history, unearthing the secret city and its forgotten inhabitants. Encompassing a historical panorama from the Elizabethan age to the present day, we are introduced to the magic of Dr Dee and Simon Forman, the rise of the Kabbalah and the occult designs of Wren and Hawksmoor. Elsewhere we meet figures such as Spring-Heeled Jack and the Highgate Vampyre, and occult organizations from the Invisible College to the Golden Dawn.Today a concern for such hidden traditions has returned and Merlin Coverley explores this revival of interest in the occult tradition, one that accords well with emerging New Age philosophies, the interest in London's Ley Lines, in alternative histories and psychogeography.
London, more than any other city, has a secret history concealed from view. Behind the official facade promoted by the heritage industry lies a city of esoteric traditions, obscure institutions, and forgotten locations. Occult London rediscovers this history, unearthing the hidden city that lies beneath our own. From the Elizabethan magic of Dr Dee and Simon Forman to the occult designs of Wren and Hawksmoor; from the Victorian London of Spring-Heeled Jack to the fin de siecle heyday of Madame Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley. This book describes these practitioners of the occult and their unorthodox beliefs, alongside the myths and legends through which the city has always been perceived. The role of the occult within London's literary history is also outlined, while a gazetteer maps the sites of London's most resonant occult locations.Today we are experiencing a renewal of interest in the occult tradition, and Merlin Coverley examines the roots of this revival, exploring the rise of New Age philosophies and the emergence of psychogeography in shaping a new vision of the city
What do writers such as Charles Dickens and Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair and Robert Louis Stevenson have in common? The answer lies in the use these authors make of London as a fictional setting. Yet in these works and in those of other London writers the city is much more than merely a backdrop, instead becoming a character in its own right and creating a sense of place that is both a reflection and a reworking of the city. Here London is presented as a living organism, a huge and mysterious labyrinth, and the source of endless imagination. A whole world is contained by the city and within it the entire spectrum of human experience. From Bleak House to Hawksmoor, from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to White Chappell Scarlet Tracings, London has continued to generate a series of fantastic visions. The humorous and the tragic, the grotesque and the bizarre, everything is possible here.In this book, Merlin Coverley examines the major themes in the development of the London novel from its origins in the Victorian metropolis and onward to the present day and the revival of London writing. On the way he explores the Occult Tradition and London Noir, the Disaster Novel and the rise of Psychogeography, and alongside the recognised classics of the genre he recovers some of those lost London writers whose works have been unjustly neglected.
For more than 2,000 years utopian visionaries have sought to create a blueprint of the ideal society: from Plato to HG Wells, from Cloud cuckoo land to Shangri-La, the utopian impulse has generated a vast body of work, encompassing philosophy and political theory, classical literature and science fiction. And yet these utopian dreams have often turned to nightmare, as utopia gives way to its dark reflection, dystopia.Utopia takes the reader on a journey through these imaginary worlds, charting the progress of utopian ideas from their origins within the classical world, to the rebirth of utopian ideals in the Middle Ages. Later we see the emergence of socialist and feminist ideas; while the twentieth century was to be dominated by expressions of totalitarian oppression. From the novel to the political manifesto, from satire to science fiction, utopias have always reflected the age that gave rise to them, and this guide will explore this historical context, offering both an analysis of the key texts and an account of their political and cultural background.Today, it is claimed that we are witnessing the death of utopia, as increasingly the ideals that give rise to them are undermined or dismissed. These arguments are explored and evaluated here, and contemporary examples of utopian thought used to demonstrate the enduring relevance of the utopian tradition.'Crams a lot of information into a slim guide...Cleverly written' - Fortean Times'Although a slim paperback, this book turns out to be quite exhaustive on the chosen topic and, in its brevity, to be quite original in its perspective as well' - Modern Language Review
The Art of Wandering is a history of that curious hybrid, the writer as walker. From the peripatetic philosophers of Ancient Greece to the streets of twenty-first century London, Paris and New York, this figure has evolved through the centuries, the philosopher and the Romantic giving way to the experimentalist and radical. From pilgrim to pedestrian, fl?neur to stalker, the names may change but the activity of walking remains constant, creating a literary tradition encompassing philosophy and poetry, the novel and the manifesto; a tradition which this book explores in detail. Today, as the figure of the wanderer returns to the forefront of the public imagination, writers and walkers from around the world are re-engaging with the ideas which animated earlier generations. For the walker is once again on the march, mapping new territory and recording new visions of the landscape.