Languages of Witchcraft: Narrative, Ideology and Meaning in Early Modern Culture

Paperback | December 15, 2000

EditorStuart Clark

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Different conceptions of the world and of reality have made witchcraft possible in some societies and impossible in others. How did the people of early modern Europe experience it, what was it, and what was its place in their culture? The news essays in this collection illustrate the latest trends in witchcraft research and in cultural history in general. After three decades in which the social analysis of witchcraft accusations has dominated the subject, they turn instead to its significance and meaning as a cultural phenomenon—to the "languages" of witchcraft, rather than its causes. As a result, witchcraft seems less startling than it once was, yet more revealing of the world in which it occurred.

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Different conceptions of the world and of reality have made witchcraft possible in some societies and impossible in others. How did the people of early modern Europe experience it, what was it, and what was its place in their culture? The news essays in this collection illustrate the latest trends in witchcraft research and in cultural...

Stuart Clark is Professor of Early Modern History, University of Wales Swansea.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.54 × 6.4 × 0.56 inPublished:December 15, 2000Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0333793498

ISBN - 13:9780333793497

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Table of Contents

Introduction--Stuart Clark * Part I: History and Story in Witchcraft Trials * Texts of Authority: Witchcraft Accusations and the Demonstration of Truth in Early Modern England--Peter Rushton * Understanding Witchcraft: Accuser's Stories in Print in Early Modern England--Marion Gibson * Witches and Witnesses in Old and New England--Malcolm Gaskill * Sounds of Silence: Fairies and Incest in Scottish Witchcraft Stories--Diane Purkiss * Part II: Contexts of Witchcraft * Towards a Politics of Witchcraft in Early Modern England--Peter Elmer * Reginald Scot/ Abraham Fleming/ The Family of Love--David Wootton * Hell upon Earth or the Language of the Playhouse--Jonathan Barry * Part III: How Contemporaries Read Witchcraft * Circling the Devil: Witch-Doctors and Magical Healers in Early Modern Lorraine--Robin Briggs * Witchcraft as Metaphor: Infanticide and its Translations in Aragón in the Sixteenth Century and Seventeenth Centuries--María Tausiet * Witchcraft and Forensic Medicine in Seventh-Century Germany--Thomas Robisheaux * Reasoning with Unreason: Visions: Visions, Witchcraft, and Madness in Early Modern England--Katharine Hodgkin

Editorial Reviews

This is on balance a well-presented and coordinated set of essays.
-Sixteenth Century Journal

"The volume's true value lies in the application of a theoretical approach that takes seriously the worldviews of early modern Europeans." --Choice