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Phantasmagoria: Ghostly entertainment of the Victorian Britain

NAKANE, Yurie ;


Phantasmagoria is an early projection show using an optical instrument called a magic lantern. Brought to Britain from France in 1801, it amused spectators by summoning the spirits of absent people, including both the dead and the living. Its form gradually changed into educational amusement after it came to Britain. However, with the advent of spiritualism, its mysterious nature was re-discovered in the form of what was called ‘Pepper’s Ghost’. Phantasmagoria was reborn in Britain as a purely ghostly entertainment, dealing only with spirits of the dead, because of the mixture of the two notions brought from France and the United States. This paper aims to shed light on the role that phantasmagoria played in Britain during the Victorian period, how it changed, and why. Through observing the transnational history of this particular form of entertainment, we can reveal a new relationship between the representations of science and superstitions.


Palavras-chave: Phantasmagoria, spiritualism, spectacle, ghosts, the Victorian Britain, superstitions,

Palavras-chave: ,

DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2016-04_008

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Como citar:

NAKANE, Yurie; "Phantasmagoria: Ghostly entertainment of the Victorian Britain", p. 343-347 . In: Wong, Wendy Siuyi; Kikuchi, Yuko & Lin, Tingyi (Eds.). Making Trans/National Contemporary Design History [=ICDHS 2016 – 10th Conference of the International Committee for Design History & Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2016.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2016-04_008

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