Verbal magic and healing charms in Glasgow University Library Ferguson MS 147


Ferguson MS 147
Middle English
medical manuscripts

How to Cite

de la Cruz-Cabanillas, I. . (2021). Verbal magic and healing charms in Glasgow University Library Ferguson MS 147. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 26(1), 109–128.


Manuscript Ferguson MS 147, a fifteenth-century volume written in Middle English and housed in Glasgow University Library, contains a copy of the Antidotarium Nicholai, a sarum calendar and a medical compilation which includes medical recipes, prognostic texts, and healing charms. Our interest is placed on the charms in the medical recipe collection found in folios 63r–159v. Following earlier studies on the charm genre, we will characterise the medical charms found in Ferguson MS 147 from a linguistic standpoint. This touches upon the use of language and other technical features, such as the presence of code-switching, the use of specialised symbols and characters, and the terminology used by the scribe to refer to the genre, among others. Concerning textual tradition, we also aim to examine whether the healing charms present variation, even if small, with earlier described charms. From a methodological point of view, the comparison includes contrasting our material with other edited compilations of charms.


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