The Department of English: Work in Progress talk
"Legitimizing Magic: The Poetics of the Supernatural in Medieval Literature"
Dr. Kathryn Walton
Magic was everywhere in the Middle Ages; people would turn to charms, talismans, and potions to cure illnesses, find lost items, and solve crimes. By the end of the 18th century, however, magic faded almost entirely from society, deemed anti-Christian, heretical, and ineffectual. The same is not true in the literary world. In the ltierary world, magic remained prevalent, and today magic is more popular than ever.
Kathryn Walton's current book project, Literary Magic in Medieval England, attempts to explain why magic prospered in the literary world even as it was viciously condemned in the real world.
In this talk, Dr. Walton will present a short excerpt from her book that shows how the poetic structures used by medieval authors helped legitimize and Christianize magic, ensuring its survival in literature. She will suggest that this poetic inheritance played a part in the persistence of magic across literary history.
Friday, Nov. 24 at 1 pm in OA 3041