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The Fluid Self

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Chapter Summary

Early modern magic was a powerful interpersonal force. In Scandinavian belief, this magic was performed by people with a strong self, a self which related in a forceful manner to other humans, animals, and spiritual beings. In this sense, the self was of a profound social nature. It was also fluid to an extent, because in magic the self could change shape and transgress time and space. This chapter argues that this fluid and relational self was the basis of early modern magic, and draws on recent historical research which suggests that the somatic and spiritual spheres were interconnected. For the purposes of this discussion, the author?s argument is divided into three distinct areas of analysis: the social character of the self; the relation between self, emotion, and body; and finally, the ability of the self to transcend time and space.

Keywords: early modern magic; emotion; fluid self; relational self; space; spiritual beings; time



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