Course Listings

Classical Studies

CLAS 252 Poetics of Magic, Magic of Poetry (4)

The origin of poetic speech in magical incantations and prayers is explored, using a variety of theoretical frameworks, including linguistic, anthropological, and literary, both ancient and modern. We begin with the following premises: Perfectly true speech creates the cosmos; perfectly expressive words compel action. Written signs imbue objects with meaning and render ephemeral performances permanent. Examples are drawn from texts that ancient Wise Women, Masters of the Word, and inspired poets used in magic rituals and cult, with translations. Students will also craft their own charms and prayers following the principles introduced for each genre, and according to the practices of the various ancient European, Near Eastern, and South Asian cultures studied.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities; World Engagement: CV
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

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