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The Power of Words
Studies on Charms and Charmings in Europe

Edited by
James A. Kapaló
, Lecturer in the Study of Religions Department, University College Cork, Ireland,
Éva Pócs
, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pécs, Hungary
William Francis Ryan
Series editor for the Hakluyt Society, former President of the Folklore Society, former President of the Hakluyt Society

The research of the folklore genre of charms became extremely dynamic around the turn of the millennium. A number of academic disciplines allied themselves to explore manuscripts healing texts and other textual relics of verbal magic from antiquity and the middle ages. Studying this corpus has shed light on a number of previously unexplored aspects of Eurasian cultures. The authors of the twelve essays in the book, covering a wide geographical and thematic range, include representatives of European ethnology and folklore studies, contemporary and historical anthropology, as well as linguistics, the study of Classical Antiquity, mediaeval studies, Byzantine studies, Russian and Baltic studies. The essays reflect the rich textual tradition of archives, monasteries and literary sources, as well as the texts amassed in the folklore archives or those still accessible through field work in many rural areas of Europe and known from the living practice of lay specialists of magic and healers in local communities, and even of priests.

James Kapaló, Éva Pócs and William Ryan: Introduction GENRE, CLASSIFICATION, TERMINOLOGY Arne Bugge Amundsen: A genre in the making. The first study of charms in Norway Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart : The making of a charm collector. Alexander Carmichael in Uist, 1864 to 1882 Tat'iana Agapkina and Andrei Toporkov: Charm indexes: problems and perspectives Edina Bozóky: Medieval narrative charms Vilmos Voigt: Báj- : The historical development of “charm” terminology in Hungarian HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE STUDIES Lea Olsan: The marginality of charms in medieval England Éva Pócs: Church benedictions and popular charms in Hungary Dániel Bárth : Benediction and exorcism in early modern Hungary Daiva Vaitkevičienė: Baltic and East Slavic charms CONTENT AND FUNCTION OF CHARMS Emanuela Timotin: The năjit between prayers and charms: A study of the Romanian manuscript tradition Francisco Vaz da Silva : Charming the moon: moon charms for sick children in Portuguese ethnography Maarit Viljakainen : “Dear Merciful Mother”. The Virgin Mary in Finnish and Karelian birth incantations Index

"The book is focused on verbal charms but shows that they cannot be understood as isolated phenomena because of their close relationships with benedictions, prayers, religious legends, recipes, and other genres. Charms are also embedded in their historical and cultural contexts, dominant belief systems, and the social needs of the people who carry them. Charms in their regional diversity appear as an integral part of the common cultural heritage of Europe. The book also shows the historical continuity of magic in Europe from Hellenism and pre-Christian traditions through the Middle Ages to the early modern and contemporary period. As a substantial contribution to the scholarship on verbal charms, the book could be of great interest to folklorists, ethnologists, anthropologists, medievalists, historians of religion, scholars of cultural history, and anybody who would like to gain new knowledge about magic in Europe". - Journal of Folklore Research

334 pages, cloth
ISBN 978-615-5225-10-9
$55.00 / €50.00 / £45.00