ScholarWorks > Arts & Sciences > Medieval Institute Publications > MED_ECOCRITICISMS > Vol. 2 (2022)
Healing Wið and Against: The Conversion of Charm into Prayer in the Lacnunga and Cambridge Corpus Christi College MS 41
Informed by the epistemic shift and anticolonial project of critical Indigenous Studies, this study reframes the narratives of progress and assimilation that have been told about the healing practices on display in the Lacnunga (BL MS Harley 585) and CCCC MS 41. Recent scholarship has highlighted the scientific efficacy of the Old English charms and oriented them within a Latinate tradition in an effort to challenge previous characterizations of these texts as relics of a primitive pagan past. Drawing on Indigenous scholars’ theorizations of healing practices that address other-than-humans, this article positions the “Nine Herbs Charm” within a poetic-scientific tradition distinct from the materialisms of Insular grammatica and modern Western science. This reading suggests that Solomon’s lesson in prayer (in Solomon and Saturn I) enacts a colonial logic, in that it assimilates the charm’s theory but overwrites its practice of respecting the memories of other-than-human beings. By appealing to the convenient notion that health can be catalyzed by a singular mechanism, Solomon turns the charm into a practice that celebrates the objectification and domination of people unlike himself. Finally, the article posits that the colonial narrative of progress that underwrites nineteenth- and twentieth-century readings of the charms also structures the rhetoric on effective healing practices delivered by figures of the Benedictine Reform, such as Solomon and Ælfric.
"Healing Wið and Against: The Conversion of Charm into Prayer in the Lacnunga and Cambridge Corpus Christi College MS 41,"
Medieval Ecocriticisms: Vol. 2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/med_ecocriticisms/vol2/iss1/2