This Gradhiva dossier looks at the magical representations and uses of books and writing in situations of exchange between humans, spirits or gods to preserve or take away life, to bind beings by sealing a pact of love, to announce fortune and the return of goods, to accompany souls to heaven...
Occult sciences in 19th century Europe, miracle prophets in the Belgian Congo at the beginning of the 20th century, letters to the dead in Pharaonic Egypt or shamanic writings and dreams in Peru and Mexico, anthropologists, archaeologists and historians invite us here, through various periods and spaces, to question the strange power attributed to language to transform reality. For it is less the meaning than the effect produced that interests the users of these graphic signs. Whether it is an index, an icon, a symbol or a magic writing, writing is the trace of a mental image, a rite or an extension of the voice. How to describe the hybrid nature of these extraordinary texts? What does it tell us about the power lent to the written sign? Is magical writing to conventional text what ritual speech is to ordinary speech: a manifestation of acting language freed from the conventions of textual notation? These are questions that accompany the exploration in this issue of pragmatic issues - the act of inscription, the gesture of tracing and deciphering, knowledge and experience - linked to the ritual uses of writing.
Author : Collective
Weight : 860 g