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The Modes of the Old English Metrical Charms

The Modes of the Old English Metrical Charms Lois Bragg The Comparatist, Volume 16, May 1992, pp. 3-23 (Article) Published by The University of North Carolina Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/com.1992.0011 For additional information about this article https://muse.jhu.edu/article/415063/summary Access provided at 18 Feb 2020 11:12 GMT from JHU Libraries THE COMPARATIST THE MODES OF THE OLD ENGUSH METRICAL CHARMS Lois Bragg There are eighty-six Anglo-Saxon charms extant, chiefly in two manuscripts, the tenth-century Laecboc and the eleventh-century lacnunga, although many appear in other manuscripts as well, often in the margins.1 Of these charms, some are wholly in Latin, some in what appears to be gibberish,2 many in Old English prose, and twelve in Old English verse, either in whole or in part. The twelve metrical charms have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention in recent years, chiefly from students of literature rather than anthropologists. Indeed, several ofthe metrical charms have considerable literary merit despite their often irregular prosody. In the words of Eliza Butler, extant texts of ritual magic show evidence of creative instincts, poetical imagi- nation and feeling for beauty and drama, in however rude and embryonic a state. This is what makes the study of ritual magic still interesting today; for the aesthetic element, inherent in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Modes of the Old English Metrical Charms

The Comparatist , Volume 16 – Oct 3, 2012

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Lois Bragg The Comparatist, Volume 16, May 1992, pp. 3-23 (Article) Published by The University of North Carolina Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/com.1992.0011 For additional information about this article https://muse.jhu.edu/article/415063/summary Access provided at 18 Feb 2020 11:12 GMT from JHU Libraries THE COMPARATIST THE MODES OF THE OLD ENGUSH METRICAL CHARMS Lois Bragg There are eighty-six Anglo-Saxon charms extant, chiefly in two manuscripts, the tenth-century Laecboc and the eleventh-century lacnunga, although many appear in other manuscripts as well, often in the margins.1 Of these charms, some are wholly in Latin, some in what appears to be gibberish,2 many in Old English prose, and twelve in Old English verse, either in whole or in part. The twelve metrical charms have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention in recent years, chiefly from students of literature rather than anthropologists. Indeed, several ofthe metrical charms have considerable literary merit despite their often irregular prosody. In the words of Eliza Butler, extant texts of ritual magic show evidence of creative instincts, poetical imagi- nation and feeling for beauty and drama, in however rude and embryonic a state. This is what makes the study of ritual magic still interesting today; for the aesthetic element, inherent in

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 3, 2012

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