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Modern Magic and the War on Miracles in French Colonial Culture

  • Graham M. Jones (a1)

On 16 September 1856, gentleman illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin embarked from Marseille on the steamship Alexandre bound for the embattled French colony of Algeria. Thirty-six hours later, a detachment of French soldiers met him in the port of Algiers. Recently retired as an entertainer to pursue research in optics and the emerging field of applied electricity, Robert-Houdin was about to return to the stage in a series of magic performances that a French general purportedly called the most important campaign in the pacification of indigenous Algeria (Chavigny 1970: 134).

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Sossie Andezian 2001. Expériences du divin dans l'Algérie contemporaine: Adeptes des saints dans la région de Tlemcen. Paris: CNRS Editions.

Johannes Fabian . 2000. Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gloria Flaherty . 1992. Shamanism and the Eighteenth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

George Lakoff . 1993. The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. In Andrew Ortony, ed. Metaphor and Thought. 2d ed.New York: Cambridge University Press, 202–51.

Michèle Martin . 2006. Images at War: Illustrated Periodicals and Constructed Nations. Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press.

Randall Styers . 2004. Making Magic: Religion, Magic & Science in the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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