This is a rare opportunity for those of us in the UK to hear José Leitão, beloved author of The Book of St. Cyprian: The Sorcerer’s Treasure (Hadean Press, 2014), speak on the sorcerer saint’s books of magic.
Attendees should plan to arrive by 4:45pm as the presentation begins promptly at 5:00pm. We will have time for a Q&A and even a little socializing after the lecture.
Pre-Contemporary Books of Saint Cyprian: Reports and Manuscripts
with José Vieira Leitão, University of Coimbra, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Center for the History of Society and Culture
The contemporary Book of Saint Cyprian, while being a product of the 19th century, is in itself a fragmentary object. An analysis of its current content easily reveals multiple elements originating from several literary sources and forms of magical practice from different social and historical contexts. In this way, the history of this book needs to be constructed on three different levels. The first is the history of the Book of Saint Cyprian as a concept, focusing on notions of folk and learned culture; the second is the history of tangible Books, be they printed or manuscript, focusing on their possible origins and genealogical relations; and the third is the study of the specific content of individual Books, focusing on their sources, and how these change between versions.
One possible avenue for the construction of this multifaceted history is the consultation of sources such as the ethnographical works of José Leite de Vasconcelos (1858 – 1941), Teófilo Braga (1843 – 1924) or Francisco Martins Sarmento (1833 – 1899). Additionally, in order to trace the steps of this literary tradition to the period before the 19th century, it is also necessary to perform a systematic and careful investigation of the archives of the Portuguese Inquisition.
This talk will present all the known pre-contemporary references of something to which is given the name of ‘Book of Saint Cyprian’, tracing its various versions from the 17th century up until the dawn of its currently known printed editions. As such, this presentation will not only focus on the works of the mentioned ethnographers, but, with much greater relevance, on Inquisitorial reports and the few known pre-contemporary manuscripts.