|Jonathan Roper: English Verbal Charms. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (Academia Scientiarum Fennica). 2005. 242 pp.
ISBN 951-41-0967-8 (hardback)
28 euros (hardback)
|SOME OF THE EARLIEST English writings that now survive are records of verbal charms. They mark the beginning of a millennium-long semi-continuous record of traditional verbal charms, which runs until almost the present day. This represents a remarkable set of data for a vernacular language, and yet when charms have been studied in the past, Anglo-Saxonists, later medievalists, antiquarians and Victorian folklorists have each focussed on their particular period, and the full span of the material has not been addressed. English Verbal Charms aims to provide a description of the genre of charms and the practice of charming by drawing on the surviving data from the entire period. It also presents a discussion of charm-types found in England, mentioning wherever possible their European analogues.
JONATHAN ROPER is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. He has conducted fieldwork in northern Asia, northern Europe and north America. His previous work on charms includes the collection he edited, Charms and Charming in Europe (Palgrave, 2004).