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Title: Rituals, migrations, and texts : German charms in a transcontinental perspective
Author: Klein Käfer, Natacha
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8712
Awarding Body: University of Kent and Freie Universität Berlin
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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The present work will analyse how German charms were recorded, perceived, and used in different periods of history. This analysis will be based on sources like ninth-century to late-sixteenth-century manuscripts, late-sixteenth- to seventeenth-century treatises and witch trial records, eighteenth- and nineteen-century printed books and booklets, and currently used manuscripts in a German immigrant community in Southern Brazil, as well as interviews with local healers from immigrant communities in Brazil and in Pennsylvania (USA). The study of these sources will be divided in four chapters. In the first chapter, the focus will be on how German charms entered manuscript culture in the ninth and tenth centuries, how they were incorporated into the body of the text in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and how they became popular in recipe collections and pharmacopoeias until the late sixteenth century. The second chapter will deal with the reduction of records of charms in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For that, we will look into medical and religious treatises to see how they portray the use of charms. To give more nuance to how these treatises had an impact on the transmission of charms, examples of witch trial records dealing with charm users will be presented. In chapter 3, the attention will shift to charms in print. In the late eighteen century, charm books started to gain popularity and entered the esoteric book market. We will look into how these texts were adapted by publishers, the strategies they used to market these books, and the impact that print had in the transmission of charms among practitioners. Chapter 4 focuses on charms found among German immigrants in Southern Brazil and in Pennsylvania. By combining textual and oral sources, this chapter will analyse how these charms are used in these two immigrant communities and examine the textual means in which they survive in these new contexts, to see what they reveal about practice, transmission, and textual adaptation of charms. The goal of these chapters is to understand charms in their textual and social environments, to see how changes in these environments affected or did not affect the way in which charms were transmitted, the opinions surrounding the use of charms, and the use of charms in daily life.
Supervisor: Richardson, Catherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral