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Porreca (2018 Congress)

David Porreca
(University of Waterloo)

“The Latin Picatrix:  A New English Translation, A New Assessment”

Abstract of Paper
To be presented at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies
(Kalamazoo, 2018)

Session 1 of 2 on
“Occult Blockbusters of the Islamicate World, I:  The Picatrix (A Medieval Bestseller)”

Co-Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and the Societas Magica
Organized by David Porreca

2018 Congress Program

[Published on 23 April 2018]

This paper will present “what’s new” in the annotated English translation of the Latin Picatrix by the present author and his collaborator, Dan Attrell, forthcoming from Penn State University Press in the Magic in History series.

Commentary will focus on

  • the differences of approach chosen for this publication as compared to other available translations (e.g., the German translation of Ritter and Plessner; the French translation of Bakhouche, Fauquier, and Pérez-Jean; and the more recent English translation of Greer and Warnock)
  • some highlights of new discoveries that feature in the introductory material (e.g., new details in the study of psychotropic ingredients in the Picatrix’s rituals
  • what portrait one can paint of the “typical” Latin Picatrix reader/user based on a compiled list of ritual objectives identified in the text)
  • and also an examination of both the methods used and the results obtained for the identification of specific ingredients and other ritual elements that previous editors and translators had either left untranslated or misunderstood.

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Note: See also the Abstract for the Paper in this same 2018 Session by our Associate David Porreca’s Co-Editor for the new translation: Attrell (2018 Congress) .

Also, you know, both these Authors spoke about aspects of their study of the subject, in the making, at our co-sponsored Session at the 2013 Congress.  As described in our announcement for the 2013 International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Then, Dan spoke about “High Times:  Astral Magic and the Curious World of Psychoactive Substances in the Picatrix“, whilst David opined on the subject of “What Motivated Magic?  The Picatrix as a Sample of Social History”.

Poster for "Astrology and Magic" Congress Session (7 May 2013)

We celebrate their accomplishments, and thank our lucky stars that we could witness stages along the way!  Looking forward to the book.

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David Porreca as Presider for One of Our Sessions at the 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

David Porreca as Presider for One of Our Sessions at the 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Photograph by Mildred Budny.