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Illusionismo e magia nel ‘Golden Age Mystery’

Stefano Serafini

Abstract


The Golden Age of detective fiction, usually delimitated between 1914 and 1940, coincides with the Golden Age of theatrical magic. Mystery and magic are linked by various elements such as the persistence of the challenge (between writer and readers or between magician and audience), the power of suggestion, the role of the stage and the attraction towards the impossible. Mystery writing and stage magic both rely on conjuring tricks, devices and misdirection. Starting from this premise, I will discuss two different ways in which theatrical magic has influenced Golden Age writers. While writers such as John Dickson Carr, Hake Talbot and Clayton Rawson – mostly from the United States – would thematise magic, others made an “illusionistic” use of language and narrative in order to confound and misdirect the readers. This technique – which is ultimately rooted in Edgar Allan Poe’s work – recurs in Agatha Christie’s books, where “the quickness of the hand deceives the eye”.


Keywords


Golden Age; detective fiction; misdirection; magic; mystery;

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2015-001-sera



 


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952


Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo


Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi


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