Drawing together literature, media, and philosophy, GhostlyApparitions provides a new model for media archaeology. Stefan Andriopoulos examines therelationships between new media technologies and distinct cultural realms, tracing connectionsb......more
Drawing together literature, media, and philosophy, GhostlyApparitions provides a new model for media archaeology. Stefan Andriopoulos examines therelationships between new media technologies and distinct cultural realms, tracing connectionsbetween Kant's philosophy and the magic lantern's phantasmagoria, the Gothic novel and printculture, and spiritualist research and the invention of television.
As Kant waswriting about the possibility of spiritual apparitions, the emerging medium of the phantasmagoriaused hidden magic lanterns to terrify audiences with ghostly projections. Andriopoulos juxtaposesthe philosophical arguments of German idealism with contemporaneous occultism and ghost shows. Inclose readings of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, he traces the diverging ways in which these authorsappropriate optical media effects and spiritualist notions.
The spectralapparitions from this period also intersect with an exploding print market and the rise of immersivereading practices. Andriopoulos explores the circulation of ostensibly genuine ghost narratives andGothic fiction, which was said to produce "reading addiction" and a loss of reality.Romantic representations of animal magnetism and clairvoyance similarly blurred the boundary betweenfiction and reality. In the 1840s, Edgar Allan Poe adapted a German case history that described amagnetic clairvoyant as arrested in the moment of dying. Yet even though Poe's tale belonged to therealm of literary fiction, it was reprinted as an authentic news item. Andriopoulos extends thisarchaeology of new media into the early twentieth century. Tracing a reciprocal interaction betweenoccultism and engineering, he reveals how spiritualist research into the psychic"television" of somnambulist clairvoyants enabled the concurrent emergence of thetechnical medium.