Conceptualising magic in 1950s Germany
Shifting notions between stage shows, scientific culture, and home manuals
In an effort to explore the gap between pre-war occultism and the New Age movement, this article examines the public areas of stage magic, folklore magic, and handbook magic between 1947 and 1960. It firstly investigates possible connections between stage performance and the implicit character of religious beliefs and combines these observations with the notion of magic in the field of parapsychology. Then the latter approach is put into the context of mental health discourse, scientific culture, and the metaphysics of nature. The field of handbook magic, finally, relates to public debates about rationality and superstition as an attempt to popularise and legitimise knowledge and techniques of twentieth-century ‘high magic’.
Copyright (c) 2020 Tilman Hannemann
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