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Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
‘Take and Write These Words in Butter’: Reading and Writing Healing Words in Medieval England

In medieval England, written words were expected to physically change the world. Written charms could heal disease or protect people from harm, often without being read or even seen. Instead, they might be dissolved into water and drunk, sealed and hung around a patient's neck, inscribed on food and eaten, or written directly onto the body. Drawing on a collection of more than a thousand medieval charms, this talk explores words at their most powerful, highlighting complex relationships between orality, textual materiality, and language. 


Katherine Hindley is Assistant Professor of Medieval Literature in the Division of English at NTU Singapore. She holds degrees in Medieval Studies and English from Yale and the University of Oxford. Her current research project examines medical and protective uses of spoken and written charms in medieval England, with a particular focus on language and materiality. This research has been supported by the Medieval Academy of America, the Bibliographical Society of America, and Singapore's Ministry of Education, among others. Katherine is also the Director of the London International Palaeography Summer School. 

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/98790607246?pwd=UVJXZHJnc0w5Y2hVaDBGaXA1SmtUQT09 

Meeting ID: 987 9060 7246 
Password: 165203

Live broadcast will be available in Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU.