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The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern
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The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  51 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
By the end of the nineteenth century, Victorians were seeking rational explanations for the world in which they lived. The radical ideas of Charles Darwin had shaken traditional religious beliefs. Sigmund Freud was developing his innovative models of the conscious and unconscious mind. And anthropologist James George Frazer was subjecting magic, myth, and ritual to systema ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 14th 2004 by University Of Chicago Press
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Otto Hahaa
May 15, 2016 Otto Hahaa rated it it was amazing
A book that really explains to us outsiders what the Golden Dawn magicians actually wanted to achieve and why. For example, compared to the Crowley biography by Gary Lachman, this manages to get more inside the head of Perdurabo (You will still think that he was a not very nice person, to put it mildly). Some parts are rather heavy if you are not familiar with recent theorizing in Humanities, but they are still worth the effort. / Tykkäsin kovasti. Nuorena skeptikkona ihmettelin miten ihmiset ja ...more
Joshua Buhs
Magisterial (mostly).

Read it as a companion piece to Janet Oppenheim's "The Other World." Owen takes on a similar (though shorter) time period, the same place--England--a similar set of issues--though her subjects are not the SPR but the occultists and modern magicians mostly associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (with a few glances at the SPR and the Theosophical Society.) Her book benefits from being more recent, and so more theoretically nimble--but also suffers from its recen
...more
David
Alex Owen's The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern "explores what has been disregarded, marginalized, or forgotten. It is concerned with the emergence towards the end of the nineteenth century of a widespread engagement with occultism, mysticism, and...magic, and deals with the parameters and significance of this engagement."

For all of this, the work is engaging, mercifully free of specialized, post-structural terminology which has been known to alienate the g
...more
Christopher Plaisance
Mar 16, 2012 Christopher Plaisance rated it it was amazing
In this book, Owen provides one of the richest scholarly accounts of fin-de-siècle occultism available in print today. She begins by charting the movement’s history in the spiritualism that was so prevalent in the late nineteenth century, and then proceeds to examine in turn the various Rosicrucian and Theosophical organisations that laid the groundwork for the central object of Owen’s investigation: the Golden Dawn. As a study of the Golden Dawn, Owen’s work breaks new ground by delving deeply ...more
M
Nov 29, 2012 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this amazing book, Alex Owen argues that enchantment has a place within modernity, and that the occultism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, far from rejecting or hiding from the modern, "not only addressed some of the central dillemas of modernity but itself was constitutive or symptomatic of key elements of modern culture." It combines a serious academic exploration of how occultists intersected with fin de siecle British culture, and also an incredibly fascinating look at ...more
Megan Stewart
Nov 18, 2015 Megan Stewart rated it liked it
Good book for this topic. More academic then your average read. Some chapters require some knowledge of sociology. Overall good read and sheds light on an otherwise fairly ignored topic of British history.
Joseph
Jun 27, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it
This book truly focuses on the social implications of the pervasive occultism inherent in Victorian society. As such, I found the earlier chapters fascinating and the later studies of much interest.
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