Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen DaviesGrimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books

byOwen Davies

Paperback | October 1, 2010

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 95 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


What is a grimoire? The word has a familiar ring to many people, particularly as a consequence of such popular television dramas as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. But few people are sure exactly what it means. Put simply, grimoires are books of spells that were first recorded in the Ancient Middle East and which have developed and spread across much of the Western Hemisphere and beyond over the ensuing millennia. At their most benign, they contain charms and remedies for natural and supernatural ailmentsand advice on contacting spirits to help find treasures and protect from evil. But at their most sinister they provide instructions on how to manipulate people for corrupt purposes and, worst of all, to call up and make a pact with the Devil. Both types have proven remarkably resilient and adaptableand retain much of their relevance and fascination to this day. But the grimoire represents much more than just magic. To understand the history of grimoires is to understand the spread of Christianity, the development of early science, the cultural influence of the print revolution, the growth of literacy, the impact of colonialism, and the expansion of westerncultures across the oceans. As this book richly demonstrates, the history of grimoires illuminates many of the most important developments in European history over the last two thousand years.
Owen Davies is Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. His previous books include The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts; Murder, Magic, Madness: The Victorian Trials of Dove and the Wizard; and Cunning-folk: Popular Magic in English History.
Title:Grimoires: A History of Magic BooksFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.03 inPublished:October 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199590044

ISBN - 13:9780199590049

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating & Dense This is a very dense history book, you won't finish it in an evening, or a day, or possibly a week. It is fascinating in the extreme if literacy and the exchange of cultures is something you're in to. From France, to Egypt, to the Swiss Alps and Portugal, and back again Grimoires goes into depth about why certain magic books existed they way they did but also how they came about to be the ones that stuck around. One bit of advice, make sure you know what the word 'pernicious' means before starting because the author uses it quite often throughout the book. I found it to be well worth my time and learned a large amount of history that wasn't even about grimoires in particular, which shows how in depth Mr. Davies went in on the topic. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-15

Table of Contents

Introduction1. Ancient and Medieval Grimoires2. The War against Magic3. Enlightenment and Treasure4. Across the Oceans5. Rediscovering Ancient Magic6. Grimoires USA7. Pulp Magic8. Lovecraft, Satan, and Shadows9. EpilogueFurther ReadingNotesIndex