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The spoken word: Oral culture in Britain, 1500-1850

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ISBN: 9780719057465 Year: DOI: 10.9760/mupoa/9780719057465 Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Abstract

The early modern period was of great significance throughout Europe with respect to its gradual transition from a largely oral to a fundamentally literate society. On the one hand, the spoken word remained of the utmost importance to the dissemination of ideas, the communication of information and the transmission of the cultural repertoire. On the other hand, the proliferation of written documents of all kinds, the development of printing and the spread of popular literacy combined to transform the nature of communication. Studies previous to this have traditionally focussed on individual countries or regions, and emphasised the contradictions between oral and literate culture. The essays in this fascinating collection depart from these approaches in several ways. By examining not only English, but also Scottish and Welsh oral culture, they provide the first pan-British study of the subject. The authors also emphasise the ways in which oral and literate culture continued to compliment and inform each other, rather than focusing exclusively on their incompatibility, or on the 'inevitable' triumph of the written word. The chronological focus, ranging from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, with glances ahead to the twentieth, set the problem against a longer chronological span than most other studies, providing a link between early modern and modern oral and literate cultures. This book it will be of interest to students and scholars of British history, Linguistics, Literary Studies and Folklore Studies.

Keywords

culture --- oral --- folklore --- linguistics

Witchcraft continued: Popular magic in modern Europe

Authors: ---
ISBN: 9780719066580 Year: DOI: 10.9760/mupoa/9780719066580 Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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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 in nineteenth-century witchcraft and the twentieth-century 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 from both above and below. They demonstrate the widespread fear of witches amongst the masses during the nineteenth century, and the continued but more restricted relevance of witchcraft in the twentieth century. 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. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the continued importance of witchcraft and magic in the modern era. More generally it will appeal to those with a lively interest in the cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Keywords

transylvania --- folklore --- witchcraft --- witches

Witchcraft narratives in Germany: Rothenburg, 1561-1652

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ISBN: 9780719052590 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into 'witch-crazes' in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city which experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The author explores the factors that explain the absence of a 'witch-craze' in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a lively narrative style, this innovative study invites a wide readership to share in the compelling drama of early modern witch trials. It will be essential reading for researchers working in witchcraft studies, as well as those in the wider field of early modern European history.

Keywords

germany --- folklore --- witchcraft --- witches

Beyond the witch trials: Witchcraft and magic in Enlightenment Europe

Authors: ---
ISBN: 9780719066603 Year: DOI: 10.9760/mupoa/9780719066603 Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Beyond the witch trials provides an important collection of essays on the nature of witchcraft and magic in European society during the Enlightenment. The book is innovative not only because it pushes forward the study of witchcraft into the eighteenth century, but because it provides the reader with a challenging variety of different approaches and sources of information. The essays, which cover England, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Finland and Sweden, examine the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft from both above and below. While they demonstrate the continued widespread fear of witches amongst the masses, 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 no disappear; it either became more private or refocused on such issues as possession. The contributors come from different academic disciplines, and by borrowing from literary theory, archaeology and folklore they move beyond the usual historical perspectives and sources. They emphasise 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. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the decline of the European witch trials and the continued importance of witchcraft and magic during the Enlightenment. More generally it will appeal to those with a lively interest in the cultural history of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is the first of a two-volume set of books looking at the phenomenon of witchcraft, magic and the occult in Europe since the seventeenth century.

Keywords

enlightenment --- folklore --- witchcraft

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