(H)EX-LIBRIS: Tracing Occult Identities

The determination of occult textual identities has evolved beyond editing and interpreting of key texts, but rather tracing commonalities, typology, and cultural relevance to contemporary bibliographic sources. Particularly, it populates aspects of magical commerce, proprietary accumulation, and recognition of posthumous spaces.

It has also revealed the marginalization and failure of scholarship to recognize specific voices in occult book history. In this brief webinar, Kim Schwenk traces the nature of occult identities formed through marginalia, provenance, and art and design in print, with an effort to advocate for diverse narratives. Kim will be using examples of inscriptions, bookplates, and design features, intrinsic to occult practices and identities. For catalogers, bibliographers, and bibliophiles, the conversation will outline the need for advanced bibliographic description and cultural context for ‘hidden’ creators and relationships within occult materials to empower collection development and collaborative scholarship.

Kim Schwenk (MLIS) is a rare book cataloger at UC San Diego, Special Collections & Archives Library and an antiquarian bookseller with Lux Mentis, Booksellers. She has a specialization in American and European witchcraft history, history of early printed occult texts, and bibliographic studies of magical curses using plants and objects. She also is active in occult sciences and the occult book community both as a researcher and a practitioner. As of 2019, she is researching “occult ex libris,” otherwise known as “hex libris” or occult bookplates.

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