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Description - The Witch in History by Diane Purkiss

A symbol of everything that is dark about the past and woman, the witch continues to fascinate us in the late twentieth century. The Witch in History explores the sources of that fascination and its manifold forms through court records, early modern dramas, and the modern histories and fictions which draw upon them. This book argues that in early modern England, the witch was a woman's fantasy and not simply a male nightmare. Through witch-beliefs and stories about witches, early modern women were able to express and manage powerful and passionate feelings which still resonate for us today, feelings which could not be uttered in a seventeenth century context: unconscious fears of and fury with children and mothers. In our own era, groups as diverse as women writers, academic historians and radical feminists have found in the witch a figure who justifies and defines their own identities. Then too, there are those who still call themselves witches in 1990s Britain, who still practise magic and who invent their own histories of witchcraft to sustain them. Constantly reworked and debated, the witch is central to all these groups.
Looking at texts from colonial narratives to court masques, trial records to folktales, and literary texts from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, this book shows how the witch acts as a carrier for the fears, desires and fantasies of women and men both now and in the early modern period.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415087612
ISBN-10: 0415087619
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 20mm)
Pages: 308
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 31-Oct-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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