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Lantern Slides from the Nineteenth Century

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A one-of-a-kind exploration of the 19th century that ties the time period to our own through essays on a variety of topics in music, film, literature, and art.

In Gaslight, Joachim Kalka delves into the mythos of the nineteenth century, exploring our fascination with its “auratic gaslight,” its mingling of romanticism and modernity, enlightenment and darkness. Here we find the roots of our contemporary preoccupations: gender roles and sexuality, terrorism and technology, mad scientists and serial killers, kitsch and commodification. Mustering a wealth of cultural references, Kalka draws illuminating connections between Balzac and Billy Wilder, Mickey Mouse and the arms race, the cake fights of Laurel and Hardy and Madame Bovary’s wedding cake. He brings the nineteenth century to life with all its contradictions, aspirations, and absurdities, inviting us to reexamine that era and our own, and the stories we tell ourselves about history.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 06, 2017 – Essayist, critic, and translator Kalka's first work translated into English is an original, learned, and occasionally bewildering collection of essays on the 19th century. Rooted in academic criticism, Kalka's essays are buoyant and snappily written, bringing an endlessly revealing lens to train on Wagner's opera The Valkyrie; Balzac's novel A Woman of Thirty; Wolfgang Menzel, a reactionary German critic of Goethe's (whose judgments, one author said, were "so reliably wrong that each and every book he branded as heretical can be read with pleasure to this day"); and, in the title essay, the relationship between artificial illumination and Jack the Ripper. One needn't be conversant with the works of Balzac, Goethe, or Menzel to appreciate Kalka's essays, but a keen interest in European culture and literature of the 19th century is rewarded. Kalka contextualizes even the most potentially arcane subjects with lucidity and good humor, though sometimes it will take a few pages for readers to find their footing. This accomplished work introduces a strong, if strange, voice to English-speaking readers.
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Jun 06, 2017
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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