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Witchcraft, Magic and Culture 1736-1951 - Owen Davies

Witchcraft, Magic and Culture 1736-1951

Paperback Published: 15th July 1999
ISBN: 9780719056567
Number Of Pages: 337

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Most studies of witchcraft and magic have been concerned with the era of the witch trials, a period that officially came to an end in Britain with the passing of the Witchcraft Act of 1736. But the majority of people continued to fear witches and put their faith in magic. Owen Davies here traces the history of witchcraft and magic from 1736 to 1951, when the passing of the Fraudulent Mediums Act finally erased the concept of witchcraft from the statute books. This original study examines the extent to which witchcraft, magic and fortune-telling continued to influence the thoughts and actions of the people of England and Wales in a period when the forces of "progress" are often thought to have vanquished such beliefs.

Industry Reviews

Davies presebnts an often stimulating... survey of witch-belief.... "Choice"

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Glossaryp. xi
Educated Attitudes Towards the Popular Belief in Witchcraft and Magicp. 1
The denial of witchcraft and the defence of propertyp. 2
Witchcraft: an anachronism in the 'Age of Enlightenment'p. 7
Continuing religious interest in witchcraftp. 11
Possession, religion and spiritualismp. 18
Witchcraft and insanityp. 39
Reforming the popular mindp. 44
The legal debate over the Witchcraft and Vagrancy Actsp. 61
Witchcraft and Popular Justicep. 79
The decline of witchcraft prosecutionsp. 79
Authority's role in the persecution and prosecution of witchesp. 83
Swimming: the popular adoption of a continental practicep. 86
The continued resort to figures of authority and their responsep. 100
Witch-mobbing as an act of folk justicep. 106
Witch-mobbing, the parish constable and the coming of the new policep. 109
Witchcraft, Magic and Popular Literaturep. 120
Literacy and literaturep. 121
Broadsidesp. 124
Chapbooksp. 130
Prophecyp. 142
The witch and the Devilp. 147
Almanacsp. 153
Anti-superstition literaturep. 157
The Witchp. 167
Witches, folklore and beliefp. 168
Characteristics of the archetypal witchp. 174
Fairies, flying and shape-shiftingp. 184
The witch in courtp. 193
Origins of accusationsp. 201
Bewitchment and social spacep. 207
Occult Practitionersp. 214
Cunning-folkp. 214
Astrologersp. 229
Astrologers of Londonp. 236
Fortune-tellersp. 246
The reinvention of fortune-tellingp. 250
Gypsiesp. 258
Fortune-telling and the First World Warp. 266
Declining Belief in Witchcraftp. 271
Measuring declining beliefp. 272
Cultural change and the retiring witchp. 278
Conclusionp. 294
Notesp. 296
Indexp. 330
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780719056567
ISBN-10: 071905656X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 337
Published: 15th July 1999
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.44 x 15.72  x 1.85
Weight (kg): 0.49