Cornwall has a reputation as a place where magic exists just under the surface. Its history includes a tapestry of Druids, witches and Arthurian legend, set amidst dramatic, sweeping, landscapes and mysterious stone monuments. Today it is a modern Celtic Otherworld that is both genuinely potent and sometimes exploited. This talk will explore the historical development of magical Cornwall in the cultural imagination. We will reach back to its early status as a liminal setting for medieval Continental legend, explore the antiquarian and folklore studies of Cornwall emerging alongside early modern Celtic identities, and finally look at how post-industrial tourism has shaped perceptions of a Cornwall that is lost in time.
Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site https://medium.com/@amyhale93 and her website www.amyhale.me.