Witch Hunt

Might have to get myself a copy of this one. Witchcraft and witch hunts are a fascinating part of the history of socio-cultural demonising of femaleness and femininity.

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

Original documents and manuscripts fascinate me, and much of my research as a Ph.D. student over the last few years has focused on historical sources and archival materials. That is why when I heard on NPR about Katherine Howe’s The Penguin Book of Witches (2014), a compilation of original sources about witches dating from 1582 to 1813, I determined to get my hands on it.

penguin book of witches cover

The book did not disappoint.  It is a chronological edited collection of original documents about witch trials (including the most infamous in Salem, Massachusetts), confessions, and defenses.  I think my favorite document was Robert Calef’s More Wonders of the Invisible World (1700), in which he calls into question the validity of witch trials and hunting, noting that people have been “accusing their innocent neighbors . . . to let loose the devils of envy, hatred, pride, cruelty, and malice against each other; yet still disguised…

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