The Long-Lost Friend: A Conundrum

I was collating my notes to The Long-Lost Friend taken at the various archives I’ve visited, and I’ve come upon an interesting editorial decision.

I mentioned a few entries ago that I was examining the 1837 pirated edition of the text, which included several recipes not present in Hohman’s original.  My thought was originally to translate all of these into the book – with the archives’ permission, of course – as an appendix to the main work.  There were two dozen or so, I told myself, which would make a nice little task and a bonus to the readers.

I just got done with looking over these and numbering them.  Apparently my time-focused brain didn’t process in the archives that my count of two dozen was off by nearly four dozen.  In short, this edition would extend the original’s length by over a third.

I’m now debating whether a full translation is necessary, or even desirable.  As with later LLF additions, most of these pieces are not charms, but herbal remedies and recipes for household needs.   Thus, I’m debating whether giving my readers half a dozen recipes involving cider, for instance, is something they’re going to appreciate.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be what people consider when they think of Hohman’s book.

Overall, my sense is that I should extract what few genuine charms are in here, add in any remedies that I find typical or unique (yes, there’s a slight contradiction there), and move on.

What are your thoughts?

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 12:34 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well, you should defiantly put something about the pirated book in there. How many charms or remedies you translate should be entirely up to you, though you should keep it around two-dozen so that the extra content does not take up too much time.

  2. Hello Dan,

    Sorry, but this isn’t related to the above article. I was wondering wether you could contact Alan from the post on the Liber Spirituum in private for details on the example he was referring to.

    One account of a book that seems similar to the Luiber Spirituum is in Sibly’s A Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences, the letter in the final part of book 4.

    The most interesting thing about the account IMO, is that Thomas Perks, by the letter, went to a crossroads to conjure a random spirit and then put its name and character into his book. After that, it gets a bit confused when relating how the spirits appear after he had filled the book in; it says he gets tormented by them one night in December until dawn after which he became very sickly, I assume it means all that was done without a circle just by the flipping of the book.

  3. Unless you’re under some kind of page count constraint from your publisher, I would include everything. It might help to put ourselves in the mindset of someone 150 odd years ago. I don’t think the line between “folk magic” and “folk remedy” were as cut and dry as they are today. To use your cider example: I recently used apple cider vinegar to remove a wart. It worked! It’s easy to see how someone would have viewed this treatment as miraculous in Hohman’s day.

  4. Is this an alcoholic cider? I’d be happy to perform some scientific testings, if so. Purely for science.

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