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Performing Fabulous Monsters: Re-inventing the Gothic Personae in Bizarre Magic

Taylor, Nik and Nolan, Stuart (2015) Performing Fabulous Monsters: Re-inventing the Gothic Personae in Bizarre Magic. In: Monstrous media/spectral subjects: Imaging Gothic from the nineteenth century to the present. Manchester University Press, pp. 128-142. ISBN 978-0-7190-8977-0

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Bizarre magick is a form of performance magic that favours theatrical character, storytelling, overt allegory, symbolism and metaphor, and themes of the supernatural, fantastic, amazing and weird. While the form has its roots in Victorian stage magic, it realised itself as a movement in the 1970s through a counter-cultural reaction against the big boxes and card flourishes of a disenchanted, contemporary, mainstream stage magic. Bizarre magicians sought to re-enchant performance magic with the mysterious and the spiritual, (re)discovering meaning through storytelling and theatrical character.

This chapter examines the adoption of popular Gothic representations in the stage persona of a number of key figures in bizarre magick. In performance, bizarre magick presents a complex series of meta-narratives within the form, often supplanting the literary in favour of popular Gothic (re)imaginings. These, often twice-removed, transformations/translations of classic and contemporary Gothic form and fiction are considered in the context of the bizarre performer's engagement, through both performance and theoretical writing, with the fabulously monstrous.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: magician, bizarre magick, performance magic, mystery performer, adaptation,audience
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
School of Music, Humanities and Media > Drama Research Group
School of Music, Humanities and Media > Magic Research Group
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Depositing User: Nik Taylor
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 10:39
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 13:54

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