Supernatural Cities
Title Details

323 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

8 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press

Supernatural Cities

Enchantment, Anxiety and Spectrality

Edited by Karl Bell

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Far from being a static or eroding cultural inheritance from the past, the supernatural has continually been appropriated and updated to accommodate and express social, cultural, economic and environmental anxieties.
SHORTLISTED for the 2020 Katharine Briggs Award.
Since the Enlightenment, supernatural beliefs and practices have largely been derided as ignorant and un-modern - even anti-modern - and cities, being the ultimate symbol of progress and rationality, have not been thought to harbour magic. Scholars have long assumed that the world of the supernatural withered under the impact of urbanisation; yet, as numerous books, films and T.V. series from Hellboy to Being Human to the Harry Potterfranchise show, contemporary culture remains fascinated by urban-based legends and fantasy.
This collection seeks to spur interest in the urban supernatural and argues for its prevalence, importance and vitality by presenting a rich cultural history of the complex relationship between supernatural beliefs and practices, imagination and storytelling, and urbanisation. Grouped around themes of enchantment, anxiety and spectrality, it explores urban supernatural cultures on five continents between the late eighteenth century and the present day. The book advances a ground-breaking exploration of the communal and cultural function of urban supernatural ideas, demonstrating howthey have continually been appropriated and updated to express and accommodate socio-cultural, economic and environmental anxieties and needs.
Drawing together a diverse range of academic approaches, with contributions from historians, geographers, anthropologists, folklorists and literary scholars, it makes an important contribution to our understanding of how urban environments, both past and present, inform our imaginations, cultural insecurities and spatial fears.

KARL BELL is Reader in Cultural and Social History at the University of Portsmouth.

CONTRIBUTORS: Karl Bell, Oliver Betts, Alex Bevan, Tracy Fahey, Deirdre Flynn, Maria del Pilar Blanco, William Pooley, Elena Pryamikova, David J. Puglia, William Redwood, Morag Rose, Alevtina Solovyova, Tom Sykes, Natalya Veselkova, Mikhail Vandyshev, David Waldron, Sharn Waldron, Felicity Wood
Introduction: Mapping the Urban Mindscape: The City and the Supernatural - Karl Bell
Magical Capital: Witchcraft and the Press in Paris, c.1789-1939 - William Pooley
Fatal Seductions, False Promises and Urban Enchantments: The Mamlambo, the Blesser, and the Consumer in South African Cities - Felicity Wood
'The Banshee Lives in the Handball Alley': Limerick City as a Folk Gothic Site - Tracy Fahey
Urban Energy: Cartographies of the Esoteric City - William Redwood
The Occultism of the New York Slums: Perceptions and Apparitions c.1850-1930 - Oliver Betts
Manila-as-Hell: Horror, Geopolitics and Religious Orientalism in Anglo-American Literary Constructions of an Asian City, 1946-2013 - Tom Sykes
The Goatman and Washington, D.C.: Strange Sightings and the Fear of the Encroaching City - David J. Puglia
Horror Stories of Young Ural Cities - Elena Pryamikova and Mikhail Vandyshev and Natalia Veselkova
The London Underground: A Supernatural Subterranean Heterotopia - Alex Bevan
The Uncanny City: Delving into the Sewers and Subconscious of Tokyo in Haruki Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Deirdre Flynn
Ghosts on the Goldfields: Ballarat as a Haunted City - Sharn Waldron and David Waldron
Spectral Mexico City - Maria del Pilar Blanco
Ghostlore of Contemporary Beijing - Alevtina Solovyova
'There's Something in the Water!' A Psychogeographical Exploration of What Lurks Beneath the Surface of Manchester - Morag Rose
"The book's intellectual, chronological and geographical sweep is wide." FORTEAN TIMES
"A provoking and far-reaching interdisciplinary collection exploring cities as haunted and haunting places. The judges particularly noted the exciting register of different voices presented here, with folklorists, historians, literary critics and psychogeographers contributing to an often essential collection." THE FOLKLORE SOCIETY
"Supernatural Cities is a noteworthy publication that will be of interest to both academics and urban enthusiasts. It adds to the current interest in the field of humanities to explore the cultural dimensions of urban planning.[3] The volume employs several theories associated with horror and the Gothic, drawing on the concepts of uncanniness, heterotopia, nostalgia, and subalternity, to examine the culture in the localized communities of global cities. Its various essays can serve as a good point of reference for scholars interested in the study of the urban representations, their various modalities, and multiglossia, expressed through the supernatural" H-Net

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9781783274413

October 2019

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9781787446403

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9781787446052

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Title Details

323 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

8 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press