The magic lantern and Victorian culture

Joseph Boggs Beale magic lantern slide illustrating ‘The Curfew Shall not Ring Tonight’, CC

Well it’s clearly the time of year when people are itching to get out of the darks and start organising things for 2010. Before long we’ll be having a catch-up post on the festivals being organised for next year, but the conferences and such like are also starting to get announced. And so, a call for papers has gone out for the 2010 Convention of the Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada, to take place in Bloomington, Indiana, 20-23 May 2010. Here it is:

The Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada invites scholars to submit papers or proposals for papers pertaining to the lantern to the conference organizers, Professor Joss Marsh and Mr. David Francis (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Mr. Dick Moore (President, AMLS). (Papers in research sessions will be held to 20 minutes in length.) Deadline 15th February 2010.

Presentations will be especially welcome that address the key theme of the Convention: The Magic Lantern and Victorian Culture.

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • advertising with the lantern/advertising the lantern
  • lantern-slide manufacturers and distributors
  • exhibition practices
  • individual and itinerant lanternists
  • multi-media lantern shows and lantern use
  • the lantern and nineteenth-century theatre, opera, and ballet
  • the lantern and Music Hall/Variety shows
  • local lantern shows
  • the missionary lantern
  • the Temperance lantern
  • the lantern and social change
  • urban and social lantern investigation
  • the psychology and theory of 19th century lantern spectatorship
  • the lantern and science
  • educational uses of the lantern
  • lantern-assisted virtual travel
  • the lantern and horror
  • literary reflections of the lantern
  • lantern performance of literature
  • the lantern and childhood
  • the lantern and cinema
  • lantern-inspired early films
  • lantern-slide use in movie theatres
  • animated slides and lantern representation of movement
  • the magic lantern and the long history of the ‘screen experience’
  • lantern song-slides
  • lantern humour
  • the lantern and Empire
  • lantern story-telling and lantern readings
  • the Victorian family lantern

Principal sessions of the Convention will take place at the Convention Centre, in downtown Bloomington, and on the campus of Indiana University. Presentations include a ‘Grand Optical Variety Show’ at the vintage Buskirk-Chumley (Indiana) Theater, Professor Mervyn Heard M.C., with Mr. Philip Carli at the piano.

Please address proposals to: jomarsh [at]; djfranci [at]; rmoore0438 [at]

Well, something there for everyone, and a reminder of how close the worlds of the lantern and the early cinema were. A general post on discovering the world of the magic lantern is promised, soon.

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