The representation of magic in the germanic literature of the Middle Ages
Cantalapiedra Arana, Nahia
MetadataShow full item record
Magic is something that has always been known and has always been performed. There are many different kinds of this practice such as witchcraft, astrology or tarot, that have been explored from various perspectives. But little has been said about the magical charms. And even more when we talk about charms found in the Germanic literatures of the Middle Ages. This essay emerged as a response to this matter. The aim of this paper is to provide a comparative point of view concerning literature and regarding the topic of the representation of magic in three different texts from three different Germanic literatures of the Middle Ages. To do so, the researcher has decided to focus on the “charms” which are a little part of everything that is considered to be magic. The texts that are going to be analysed are the Nine Herbs Charm (English literature), the Second Merseburg Charm (German literature) and the runic inscription that can be found on the so-called stone of Eggja (Nordic literature). The key concepts (“magic”, “charm” and “rune”) are going to be explained so that it is easier for the reader to understand the magical aspects of the texts before moving on to analysing them. Once this is clear, the texts are going to be presented both in the original version and on a selected translation to Modern English. Whenever it is possible, the texts are going to be studied using the original versions composed in Old English, Old High German and Elder Futhark/Old Norse. After this step is finished, the main point of the paper arises: the comparative perspective. The three texts are going to be analysed individually at first so that it is easier to comment the different aspects of each of them. Special attention is going to be paid to the following topics: content, form, characters, usage and consequences. The result of every one of the texts is going to be compared and the similarities and the differences between the three texts are going to be specified and analysed as a total. Findings indicate that different literatures can, and actually do, share some aspects and practices, at least to some extent.