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Witches and Neighbours - the Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft 2E


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Table of Contents

Maps ix Preface to the Second Edition xiv Preface to the First Edition xv Introduction 1 1 Myths of the Perfect Witch 12 2 The Experience of Bewitchment 51 3 Supernatural Power and Magical Remedies 82 4 The Projection of Evil 115 5 Witch-Finders and Witch Cures 146 6 Love and Hatred: Spouses and Kin 191 7 Men against Women: The Gendering of Witchcraft 224 8 The Age of Iron 250 9 The Web of Power 276 10 Internal and External Worlds 321 Conclusion 343 Notes 357 Further Reading 377 Additional Bibliography 386 Index 390

About the Author

Robin Briggs is Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford where he has worked since his election as Prize Fellow in 1964. He was educated at Felsted School and Balliol College, Oxford and he is the author of The Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (1970), Early Modern France (2nd Edition 1998), and Communities of Belief: Cultural and Social Tensions in Early Modern France (1989).


"In this learned and meticulously researched book, Robin Briggs lays to rest many of the modern myths about the witch craze, without in any way diminishing its horror... Briggs skilfully shows how the myths of witchcraft were linked with fundamental human experiences of pain and anxiety... Lucid and important." Karen Armstrong, The Times "Briggs provides a fascinating psychological insight into the ideological system that produced the trials. To understand them within their own historical context, he argues, is to realize that a belief in the witches' power was neither irrational nor absurd... the evidence from this compelling book suggests that human actions are far more determined by irrational fears than our social selves are willing to accept." Julia Wheelwright, New Statesman "I salute [Briggs's] rigorous and thoughtful scholarship." James Morrow, The Guardian

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