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It’s a Kind of Magic: Situating Nostalgia for Technological Progress and the Occult in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes

It’s a Kind of Magic: Situating Nostalgia for Technological Progress and the Occult in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes

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Title: It’s a Kind of Magic: Situating Nostalgia for Technological Progress and the Occult in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes
Author: Reisenleitner, Markus
Abstract: Guy Ritchie’s recent blockbuster success with a revisionist Sherlock Holmes is the latest in a series of popular films and fiction to have reinvigorated a nostalgic imaginary of London’s past that places the former capital of the Empire at the crossroads of a persistent Manichean battle between empiricist-driven technological progress and traditions of occult knowledge supposedly submerged in the 17th century yet continuing to trickle into the heart of the Empire from its colonies. By tracing some of these historical layers sedimented into 21st-century popular imaginaries of London’s past, this paper explores the mechanisms of popular culture’s production of nostalgia that mediate public memories and histories and suture them to the imaginary urban geographies that constitute the space of the global city through its metonymic sites and its materialized histories.
 
Le succès récent du blockbuster de Guy Ritchie revisitant la figure de Sherlock Holmes s’inscrit dans une lignée récente de films et de récits populaires qui ont revivifié un imaginaire nostalgique du passé londonien dans lequel le centre de l’ancien empire britannique se trouve au croisement d’un conflit manichéen entre un progrès scientifico-technologique et les traditions d’un savoir occulte supposément enfouis dans les siècles précédents mais qui continue à s’insinuer au cœur de l’empire à partir de ses colonies. En retraçant certaines de ces couches historiques dans les recréations contemporaines du Londres impérial, cet article explore les mécanismes de production de la nostalgie dans la culture populaire en tant qu’ils font le pont entre la mémoire publique et la mémoire historique en rattachant celles-ci à un imaginaire de la géographie urbaine qui pour sa part pointe vers la ville globale d’aujourd’hui.
 
Subject: Urban Culture
Sherlock Holmes
Guy Ritchie
Type: Article
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
http://imaginations.csj.ualberta.ca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17742/IMAGE.periph.5-1.9
http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34210
Citation: Reisenleitner, Markus. “It’s a Kind of Magic: Situating Nostalgia for Technological Progress and the Occult in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.” Imaginations 5, no. 1 (2014): 122–34.
ISSN: 1918-8439
Date: 2014

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada