PhDs

BANCA DATI DELLE TESI DI DOTTORATO IN CINEMA, FOTOGRAFIA, TELEVISIONE
DATA BASE OF PhD DISSERTATIONS IN CINEMA, PHOTOGRAPHY AND TELEVISION
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The spectacular supernatural: spiritualism, entertainment, and the invention of cinema
Il teatro del sovrannaturale: spiritismo, spettacolo e l’invenzione del cinema

Autore | Author
Simone Natale
simone.natale@gmail.com
http://uni-koeln.academia.edu/SimoneNatale

Corso di dottorato | PhD Program
Scienze del linguaggio e della comunicazione
Università degli studi di Torino
Tutor Ortoleva Peppino
2011

Sinossi | Abstract
La tesi, redatta in lingua inglese, esamina i rapporti tra storia dello show business e credenze nel sovrannaturale, a partire dalla nascita del movimento spiritista nel 1848 fino all’introduzione dello spettacolo cinematografico alla fine del secolo. Tra i principali temi discussi, il modo in cui molte sedute spiritiche avevano luogo sul palco teatrale, in un ambito eminentemente spettatoriale; l’utilizzo da parte di medium e leader spiritisti di strategie di performance e di pubblicizzazione mediate dal mondo dello show business; l’inserimento delle pubblicazioni spiritiste in un mercato editoriale che, nel diciannovesimo secolo, assume per la prima volta dimensioni di massa; e i rapporti tra fotografia spiritica e i primi “effetti speciali” del cinema delle origini.

Recently, the cultural history of spiritualist séances has been the subject of rising attention in fields such as Victorian studies, cultural history, and media studies. Scarce attention, however, has been given to the fact that spiritualism overlapped with a relevant process in the history of media: the rise of show business and industrial entertainment during the nineteenth century. My PhD dissertation aims at filling this gap within the discipline of media history by studying the spirit séance and proposing it as an amusing and highly spectacular environment. Following the history of spiritualism in Great Britain and the United States since its foundation in 1848 to the end of the nineteenth century, it examines how haunted houses were shaped as an environment open to social play and to a form of domestic entertainment; the practice of mediums leading séances in theaters and public halls, and developing theatrical performances designed to be spectacular; spiritualist publications that not only spread the doctrine of the movement, but also offered entertaining cultural products that shared many characters with popular literary genres of the time; and the way in which the uncanny imaging of spirit photography and end-of-the-century anti-spiritualist discourses forecasted the emergence and the early development of the movie.

Tesi online | Online repository
http://aperto.unito.it/handle/2318/834

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