To what extent were practitioners of magic inspired by fictional accounts of their art? In how far did the daunting narratives surrounding legendary magicians such as Theophilus of Adana, Cyprianus of Antioch, Johann Georg Faust or Agrippa of Nettesheim rely on real-world events or practices? Fourteen original case studies present material from late antiquity to the twenty-first century and explore these questions in a systematic manner. By coining the notion of ‘fictional practice’, the editors discuss the emergence of novel, imaginative types of magic from the nineteenth century onwards when fiction and practice came to be more and more intertwined or even fully amalgamated. This is the first comparative study that systematically relates fiction and practice in the history of magic.
Bernd-Christian Otto is Senior Research Fellow at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg. His research focuses on the history of magic, where he combines different methodologies such as conceptual history, discourse analysis, social theory, and ritual studies.
Dirk Johannsen is Professor of Cultural History at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo. His research focuses on narrative cultures, literature and popular religion in the nineteenth century, cognitive approaches, and trolls.
Contributors are Carole M. Cusack, Owen Davies, Ethan Doyle White, Claire Fanger, Kyle Fraser, Marco Frenschkowski, Christian Giudice, Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir, Dirk Johannsen, Ane Ohrvik, Bernd-Christian Otto, Hugh Urban, Justin Woodman, Kateryna Zorya.
1 Magic as Pollution: Fictional Blasphemies and Ritual Realities in the Roman Period (1st cen. BCE–4th cen. C)
2 The Medieval Anti-Faust: Stories, Rituals, and Self-Representations in the Flowers of Heavenly Teaching
3 Enchantment and Anger in Medieval Icelandic Literature and Later Folklore
4 Narratives of the Witch, the Magician, and the Devil in Early Modern Grimoires
5 When Ritual Texts Become Legendary Practice and Fiction in Nordic Folklore Ane Ohrvik
6 Magic and Literary Imagination in H. P. Blavatsky’s Theosophy Marco Frenschkowski
7 The Emergence of Fictional Practice in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: W.B. Yeats’ Talismanic Poetry Dirk Johannsen
8 “My Life in a Love Cult”: Tantra, Orientalism, and Sex Magic in Early Twentieth-Century Fiction
Hugh B. Urban
9 Drawing Down the Moon: From Classical Greece to Modern Wicca?
Ethan Doyle White
10 Drinking from Hecate’s Fountain: Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies and the Fusion Between Literature and Practiced Magic
11 If One Knows Where to Look, Fiction is Magic: Reading Fictional Texts as Manuals of Magic in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus
12 “Cthulhu Gnosis” Monstrosity, Selfhood, and Secular Re-Enchantment in Lovecraftian Occultural Practice
13 A Magickal School in the Twenty-First Century: The Grey School of Wizardry and Its Prehistory
Carole M. Cusack
14 Fictional Practice from Antiquity to Today
Students and researchers in the study of esotericism, religious studies, anthropology, literary, cultural, and historical studies as well as those interested in novel approaches to the history of magic.