The Enlightenment and the Shadows of the Occult (ASECS 2022, Baltimore)
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS 2022)
Baltimore, Maryland; March 31-April 2, 2022
The age of reason and Voltairean skepticism was also a time of wonder-seeking and marvels, during which a broad range of supernatural practices and beliefs–such as alchemy, astrology, divination, prophecy, rejuvenation, spiritism, and transmigration–were passionately explored and debated. This panel seeks to examine the cultural origins and development of an occult tradition during the eighteenth century and its complex interplay with the unfolding of rationalism. Papers could address occult beliefs and practices as they were represented across a variety of literary genres in eighteenth-century literature (novels, philosophical tales, plays, memoirs...), or they could investigate how the discourse of occultism was engaged in eighteenth-century social and political debates.
Participants are also encouraged to consider the intellectual itinerary of historical figures such as Cagliostro, Casanova, Cazotte, Court de Gebelin, Mesmer, and Saint Martin.
To propose a paper, please email a 250-word abstract and a c.v. to hoffmann.312.osu.edu. In order to respect the deadlines imposed by the ASECS Committee, all abstracts must be received by 17 September 2021.