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Le Comte de Gabalis, ou Entretiens sur les sciences secretes (review)

Le Comte de Gabalis, ou Entretiens sur les sciences secretes (review) tion to the fact that a romance may dabble in a variety of magical traditions. The disadvantage of this approach is that it deflects attention away from the temporal, or, for that matter, uniquely ``English,'' situatedness of the romances under consideration. Moreover, this strategy prevents the kind of sustained focus that produces the most satisfying analysis, shifting the tone from interrogation to itemization. Saunders's interesting treatment of the magical features in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (192­98), for instance, does not ultimately deliver a fully realized new perspective either on the poem or medieval magic. Similarly tantalizing are the instances in which Saunders registers a distinction between imaginative and intellectual treatments of magical practice, as in her observation that romance is ``more forgiving'' of love-magic than is the socio-religious culture that generated these tales (130), or when a romance stages competing interpretations of a supernatural event. These moments reveal the urgency of Saunders's project by gesturing to the additional dimensions a more precise knowledge of medieval magical belief might bring to our appreciation of any given romance, as well as demonstrating what the romance genre as a stage for cultural debates around the idea of the supernatural http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft University of Pennsylvania Press

Le Comte de Gabalis, ou Entretiens sur les sciences secretes (review)

Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft , Volume 7 (2) – Nov 10, 2012

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University of Pennsylvania Press
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The University of Pennsylvania Press
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1940-5111
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Abstract

tion to the fact that a romance may dabble in a variety of magical traditions. The disadvantage of this approach is that it deflects attention away from the temporal, or, for that matter, uniquely ``English,'' situatedness of the romances under consideration. Moreover, this strategy prevents the kind of sustained focus that produces the most satisfying analysis, shifting the tone from interrogation to itemization. Saunders's interesting treatment of the magical features in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (192­98), for instance, does not ultimately deliver a fully realized new perspective either on the poem or medieval magic. Similarly tantalizing are the instances in which Saunders registers a distinction between imaginative and intellectual treatments of magical practice, as in her observation that romance is ``more forgiving'' of love-magic than is the socio-religious culture that generated these tales (130), or when a romance stages competing interpretations of a supernatural event. These moments reveal the urgency of Saunders's project by gesturing to the additional dimensions a more precise knowledge of medieval magical belief might bring to our appreciation of any given romance, as well as demonstrating what the romance genre as a stage for cultural debates around the idea of the supernatural

Journal

Magic, Ritual, and WitchcraftUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 10, 2012

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