Welcome to our fourth annual issue. This year we have a trio of articles for you which consider different facets of identity construction in the context of magic and witchcraft. Our first article, “‘The king o fairy with his rout’: Fairy Magic in the Literature of Late Medieval Britain” by Hannah Priest, looks at the complex interplay between the construction of fairy identity and human identity in Sir Launfal, Sir Degaré, Sir Orfeo, as well as Marie de France’s Lanval and Yonec. From hybrid negotiations of identity we turn to the literary construction of another social outlier – the witch. Our second article,”Charity Refused and Curses Uttered in Chaucer’s Friar’s Tale” by Jennifer Culver, argues that the stereotype of the evil witch is not simply the projection of social anxieties from the early modern period but can also be traced back to a less threatening medieval construct of a female outcast found in Chaucer’s Friar’s Tale – the hag. Our third article, “Orthodoxy versus Radicalism: Authorial Agenda in Two English Renaissance Witchcraft Texts” by Jesse Dorrington, brings us into the early modern period to examine the connection between the construction of religious identity and the witch trials during the Reformation in England. From the enchanting beings who engaged in magic in the medieval Arthurian world to the bewitched brides of Satan who were accused of magic in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, this issue offers new and fascinating perspectives on the construction the magical Other.
For our readers who are inspired to learn more about magic, this year’s book review showcases Richard Kieckhefer’s Magic in the Middle Ages. This foundational work was reprinted in paperback at the turn of the millennium and offers a fun, accessible, and affordable introduction to magic for everyone. Be sure to read Melissa Ridley-Elmes’s informative review.
All of us at Hortulus hope you find our new issue as enjoyable to read as it was for us to produce. Please feel welcome to add your comments on our new articles by logging into our website and clicking on the discussion tabs or by sharing your thoughts in our new Hortulus Forum. For those of you interested in sharing more than your thoughts, financial donations are gratefully applied toward the cost of maintaining our presence on the internet and conveniently accepted through Paypal on our homepage.
Thank you for stopping by and have a magical summer!
Karina Marie Ash
Editor in Chief