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Is there a hidden kinship between magic and politics as arts of deception and persuasion?
This short and lively book examines the intersection of the art of secular magic with questions of politics and public morality. From Harry Houdini's opposition to the spiritualism fad at the turn of the twentieth century, to today's mentalists and hypnotists who tread a careful line between magic and 'reality' by deploying genuine psychological effects to creative ends, magicians have found themselves in a unique position to conjure politics in radical and fundamental ways.
With an immediate focus on Europe and America in the 20th and 21st centuries, contextualised within a much broader historical and geographical sweep, the book examines secrecy and exposure, orientalism, sexism and classism and the politics of knowledge around the paranormal. It features an exclusive interview with magician Derren Brown and includes inset boxes with descriptions of historic 'tricks', performances and personalities.
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A provocative sketch of the ways in which magic has interacted with the idea of the political in the modern world.About the Author:
Chris Goto-Jones is the inaugural Chair Professor of Comparative Philosophy and Political Thought at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He was the founding Dean of Leiden University College in the Hague. He is director and co-founder of the Political and Philosophical Arts initiative and a 'VICI' laureate of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Christ Goto-Jones has published widely on political thought and his previous work on magic includes Conjuring Asia: Magic, Modernity and Orientalism (2015). He is an associate member of the Inner Magic Circle in London.
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