I made the Devil do it: Conjuring Spirits in Late Medieval England
Cursus informatieRooster
Studiepunten (ECTS)5
Aangeboden doorRadboud Universiteit; Faculteit der Letteren; Engelse taal en cultuur;
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Overige cursussen docent
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Overige cursussen docent
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Overige cursussen docent
dr. L.S. Chardonnens
Overige cursussen docent
PER 3-PER 4  (31-01-2022 t/m 30-08-2022)
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
- Participants have expanded their knowledge of historical literary studies by an in-depth examination of writings belonging to a field other than canonical literatures.
- They consolidate or expand their knowledge of philological methods by studying a primary text in its original, unedited form.
- They are able to analyse modern critical and historical primary sources from late medieval and early modern Europe.
- They understand and can apply the principles of manuscript studies and textual editing to late medieval and early modern manuscript texts by producing reliable editions intended for an audience of peers and experts in the field.
- They are able to independently analyse a medieval or early modern text, to formulate a well-informed thesis about the text, and to communicate their ideas effectively to their peers and the academic community.
- They know how magic functions as a consistent, logical knowledge system in pre-Modernity.

Manipulation of the subjective experience of reality by supernatural means, magic is now largely relegated to the realm of quackery, popular culture, or mental illness through culturally dominant narratives of how science displaced superstition. Religious and cultural developments, such as the Protestant Reformation, humanism, the Enlightenment, positivism and scientism, have been instrumental in undermining the rationale of occult attempts to come to grips with daily reality by our ancestors, who were faced with worries about life and death, health and illness, profit and loss, happiness and sadness, security and danger, fortune and misfortune. But if we, as modern human beings who seem to have given up magic, ask ourselves to what extent we are in control of our own lives, we have to admit that there is still no prospect beyond the absolute divide that separates this momentary present from the future, an issue that is more pressing than ever in the current pandemic. We put an almost religious faith in science, education, technology, and medicine as an answer to the essential questions that occupy our thoughts, which are the same that worried our ancestors. So why not investigate our ancestors' coherent and sophisticated systems of communications with the supernatural to see how they coped with life, the universe, and everything?

This course introduces the participants to practices of ritual magic from medieval and early modern times with the help of primary sources that were transmitted, often illicitly, in communities of practitioners that had not relegated magic to the realm of popular culture. In keeping with the course's focus on spirit conjuring, the sources we will work with are hitherto unpublished texts of ritual magic from a necromantic book of magic copied by a practising magician in early modern England. The texts in this manuscript will be transformed into a modern edition that makes them available to present-day audiences, and introduces them in such a way that modern readers understand what they are about. Relevant aspects of manuscript studies, source studies, and editing techniques will be discussed and applied in order to come to an understanding of how medieval and early modern texts functioned within their material contexts. We will also study recent work on late medieval and early modern ritual magic to come to a better understanding of the historical, ideological and cultural dimensions of books of magic.

The course, then, combines the theoretical study of ritual magic with the practice of textual editing from older sources. Topics that will be discussed are: how is a text in an old manuscript turned into an edition for modern readers? Who practised ritual magic in Early Modernity? And how and why? What did the supernatural look like to an early modern magician? How do conjurations and magic circles work? Does magic work?

Expertise in at least one of the following fields of study is recommended: philology, historical literary studies, medieval or early modern English, manuscript studies, book history, magic studies, religious studies, philosophy, theology, (medieval) Latin.

Any actual magical experiments on the basis of the source text are extracurricular.
The final grade is composed of four assignments (0 % of final grade, pass/fail), and a final written assignment (100 % of final grade, grade between 1 and 10, with a grade in the range 5.5-10 being a pass). The four assignments are: (1) a transcription at the end of the first part of the course, (2) a list of letter forms at the end of the first part of the course, (3) a design for a conjuration in the second part of the course, (4) a design for a magic circle in the second part of the course. The final written assignment is an edition of a part of the text.
Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.

Verplicht materiaal
Titel:Reading materials will be distributed during the course.



GelegenhedenBlok PER 4, Blok PER 4

Minimum cijfer

GelegenhedenBlok PER 4, Blok PER 4

Minimum cijfer