Beyond the Witch Trials & Witchcraft Continued
“Beyond the witch trials is an important volume on the nature of witchcraft and magic in European society during the Enlightenment. This innovative book provides the reader with a challenging variety of approaches and sources of information, as well as advancing the study of witchcraft into the eighteenth century.
The essays cover England, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Finland and Sweden, and examine the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft in those countries. The contributors come from different academic disciplines and move beyond the usual historical perspectives and sources. They emphasize the importance of studying such themes as the aftermath of witch trials, the continued role of cunning folk in society, and the nature of the witchcraft discourse in different social contexts. In so doing, they also provide a corrective to the notion that intellectual society lost interest in the question of witchcraft. While witchcraft prosecutions were comparatively rare by the mid-eighteenth century, the intellectual debate did not disappear.”
“Witchcraft continued provides an important collection of essays on the nature and understanding of witchcraft and magic in European society over the last two centuries. It innovatively brings together the interests of historians with the fieldwork of anthropologists and sociologists on the continued relevance of witch beliefs.
The book covers England, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Transylvania and Northern Ireland. It examines the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft, demonstrating the widespread fear of witches amongst the masses during the nineteenth century, and the more restricted relevance of witchcraft in the twentieth century, along with the rise of the folklore movement. While the educated classes generally denounced witch-believers as either superstitious, foolish or both, secular and religious authorities still had to find strategies of dealing with the demands of those who believed themselves the victims of witchcraft. Moreover the rise of the folklore movement and the growth of anthropology as an academic discipline over the period provided a huge body of evidence on continuing beliefs that many had consigned to the past.”