Svartkonstböcker: A Compendium of the Swedish Black Art Book Tradition

by Dr Thomas K Johnson

650 pages / September 2019 / 9781947544222

Svartkonstböcker is a fully revised edition of Dr Johnson’s 2010 PhD Thesis Tidebast och Vändelrot: Magical Representations in the Swedish Black Art Book Tradition, featuring a thorough, path-breaking study of the black art book tradition in Sweden, as well as English translations of 35 Swedish black art books ranging from the 1690s to the 1940s, including over 1900 spells and a robust index.

The late Dr Johnson always wished that his work would see print publication in its entirety. Other publishers have offered to produce this work in two volumes, prioritizing the spells in the black art books over the scholarly apparatus that contextualizes them. Here Revelore presents the work in full, comprising over 650 pages of material. Minor errors from the PhD manuscript have been rectified, and archival images of the characters, sigils, and illustrations have been restored in high fidelity. This is the definitive source work for the Swedish magical corpus of black art books. 



About the Author

Dr. Thomas Johnson was born to and brought up by Swedish parents. His mother came from just outside of Göteborg. His father was from southern Västergötland. He travelled to Sweden where he learned Swedish as well as at home and church.

He majored in music and Swedish at North Park University in Chicago. He also attended Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola in Jönköping in Småland. He completed his Master’s Degree in Germanic Linguistics and Swedish Literature at the University of Washington. He studied at Uppsala University in 1985.

In 1986, he began his doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1992 he was a visiting fellow at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, where he performed research to eventually complete his dissertation in the Spring of 2010 at the University of Washington. He taught Swedish, as well as Swedish folklore, sagas, Old Norse religion and mythology at the University of Washington. He also taught Swedish at the Scandinavian Language Institute at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle.

He is survived by his spouse Willow Moon (Michael Tarplee).

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