Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tidebast och Vändelrot: Magical representations in the Swedish black art book tradition
by Johnson, Thomas K., Ph.D., University of Washington, 2010, 777; 3406109
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation is a study of the Swedish black art book (Sw. svartkonstbok) tradition, as represented in both folk belief and written artifact. It provides complete archive records and translations, and contains English translations of thirty-five manuscripts, the largest corpus of Swedish black art books ever assembled in one study. I have made conclusions that have not previously been possible. I draw attention to points where folk belief about the books deviates from the books themselves. Previous scholarship has primarily used archival narratives to generalize about these books and their owners, rather than examination of the manuscripts. In returning to the manuscripts as primary source, I have been able to quantify their contents: by both procedural traits and functional intent. This quantification, considered together with the archival record provides a contrast between belief and artifact. It provides a more accurate and heterogeneous vision of the tradition.

Chapter one provides definitions, and includes Swedish terminology as well as discussion of language usage that may also be foreign to many Swedes. I recount the work of previous scholars who have worked in the black art book tradition, and conclude with current trends in the study of the compilers and owners of these books (Sw. klokfolk) Chapter two is a study of the wise ones, using unedited archival materials. Chapter three addresses folk belief about black art books, their generic expectations, and their preternatural qualities and origins. Chapter four is a description of the tools used to analyze procedural traits and functions or intentions found in these books and precedes a description and discussion of each manuscript in turn including paleographic descriptions, discussion of ownership and provenance, and whatever is known about the owners or compilers. It also quantifies each manuscript by procedure and function. It is by such quantification that we can establish more accurate generic expectations of the books, and how these differ from archival records. And finally, Chapter 5 discusses contributions made, and implications for further research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smidchens, Guntis
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, Cultural anthropology, Folklore, Icelandic & Scandinavian literature, Metaphysics, Alternative Medicine, Scandinavian Studies, Sociology, Spirituality
Keywords: Black art book, Magic, Svartkonstbok, Sweden
Publication Number: 3406109
ISBN: 978-1-109-72792-0
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