Monday, February 8 – Amanda Shubert (Co-presentation with the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Cultures Workshop)

Please join Mass Culture this coming Monday afternoon for a special co-presentation with the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Cultures Workshop:

“‘A bright continuous flow’: Magic Lantern Phantasmagoria and Historical Fiction in A Tale of Two Cities”

Amanda Shubert
PhD Student in English, University of Chicago

XJF440660 Magic Lantern projecting a maternal scene (engraving) by English School, (19th century); Private Collection; ( A popular form of entertainment in the Victorian era, the magic lantern was a precursor to moving pictures and modern day cinema; The lantern works by projecting light through a photographic slide which then passes through a lens, is magnified and projected onto a surface; The lantern in this image is powered by an oil lamp; Lanterns were often used for trickery, in particular to create the illusion of ghosts and dead spirits;); English, out of copyright

Monday, February 8th
4:30-6 pm (please note unusual date & time)
Rosenwald 405

This paper addresses the influence of magic lantern phantasmagoria on Charles Dickens’ writing of historical fiction in A Tale of Two Cities (1859). Popularized in France by the physicist turned showman Etienne Gaspard Robert, called Robertson, at the tail end of the French Revolution, the phantasmagoria employed a catoptric machine known as a magic lantern to exhibit moving images primarily of ghosts, demons and other Gothic fare. I argue that Dickens drew on the immateriality of phantasmagorical representation, and its concomitant model of forms in a state of transfiguration, to structure his account of historical experience during the French Revolution.

Amanda’s paper is available for download here.

Please email one of the coordinators for the password: taschroeder [at] or noa [at]

**Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Tyler Schroeder at taschroeder [at] uchicago [dot] edu or Noa Merkin at noa [at] gmail [dot] com**

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