Witchcraft and Society in England and America, 1550-1750

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Marion Gibson
Cornell University Press, 2003 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 270 pages

A unique collection of materials, including works of literature as well as historical documents, Witchcraft and Society in England and America, 1550-1750 provides a broad view of how witches and magicians were represented in print and manuscript over three centuries. It combines newly annotated selections from famous texts, such as Macbeth, Doctor Faustus, and The Faerie Queene with unjustly obscure ones: portrayals of witchcraft and magic from private papers, court records, and little-known works of fiction. In this rich, broad context, Marion Gibson presents the voices of "witches," accusers, ministers, physicians, poets, dramatists, magistrates, and witchfinders from both sides of the Atlantic. Each text is introduced with a short essay and fully annotated to explain unfamiliar words and concepts, give biographical details of participants and/or authors, and explore the context in which the text was produced.

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Contents

how was witchcraft prosecuted?
9
Essex 1582
24
Northamptonshire 1612
52
Sweeping sceptic
74
Expert observer
90
Stage and page witches in literature
97
Tragedy
112
Tragicomic documentary
124
Frustrations of a failed witchhunter
162
Learned men and magic
171
Comedy
187
Magic and money two tricksters
193
Witchcraft in America
207
Demonologies
217
Decline and change Restoration to
227
The last word in scepticism
240

Poetry
149
Possession the devil and the witch
155

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About the author (2003)

Marion Gibson is Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, England. She is the author of Early Modern Witches: Witchcraft Cases in Contemporary Writing and Reading Witchcraft.

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