Paper $32.00 ISBN: 9780226403366 Will Publish May 2017
Cloth $96.00 ISBN: 9780226403229 Will Publish May 2017
E-book $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226403533 Published May 2017 Also Available From
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The Myth of Disenchantment

Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences

Jason A. Josephson-Storm

The Myth of Disenchantment

Jason A. Josephson-Storm

400 pages | 5 figures | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $32.00 ISBN: 9780226403366 Will Publish May 2017
Cloth $96.00 ISBN: 9780226403229 Will Publish May 2017
E-book $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226403533 Published May 2017
A great many theorists have argued that the defining feature of modernity is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths, or magic. Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm argues that as broad cultural history goes, this narrative is wrong, as attempts to suppress magic have failed more often than they have succeeded. Even the human sciences have been more enchanted than is commonly supposed. But that raises the question: How did a magical, spiritualist, mesmerized Europe ever convince itself that it was disenchanted?

Josephson-Storm traces the history of the myth of disenchantment in the births of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, folklore, psychoanalysis, and religious studies. Ironically, the myth of mythless modernity formed at the very time that Britain, France, and Germany were in the midst of occult and spiritualist revivals. Indeed, Josephson-Storm argues, these disciplines’ founding figures were not only aware of, but profoundly enmeshed in, the occult milieu; and it was specifically in response to this burgeoning culture of spirits and magic that they produced notions of a disenchanted world.  

By providing a novel history of the human sciences and their connection to esotericism, The Myth of Disenchantment dispatches with most widely held accounts of modernity and its break from the premodern past.
Review Quotes
Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred
“The implications of this book are vast and potentially revolutionary for the humanities. Josephson-Storm’s mastery over the history of western philosophy, his sharp eye for the magical lives of the intellectuals, and his expertise in Japanese religion render his voice uniquely multidimensional, utterly original, and eerily persuasive. I am deeply excited about The Myth of Disenchantment and what it portends for both our academic fields and our human futures.”
Randall Styers, author of Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World
“I know of no other study that offers such an ambitious reassessment of the genealogy of the notion of disenchantment. Building on impressive historical research, Josephson-Storm offers innovative readings of foundational social scientific and theoretical texts. This book is a major addition to the critical literature exploring the origins and nature of modernity.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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