Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, Volume 5
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark, Editors
"Although the volumes are intended mainly for scholars, there is much in them to interest the common reader."—New Yorker
"Reminds readers of the extent to which science, reason, and skepticism failed to destroy the realm of arcane arts and nightmares."—History
The roots of European witchcraft and magic lie in Hebrew and other ancient Near Eastern cultures and in the Celtic, Nordic, and Germanic traditions of the Continent. For two millennia, European folklore and ritual have been imbued with the belief in the supernatural, yielding a rich trove of histories and images.
A series that combines traditional approaches of political, legal, and social historians with critical syntheses of cultural anthropology, historical psychology, and gender studies, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe provides a modern, scholarly survey of the supernatural beliefs of Europeans from ancient times to the present day. Each of the six volumes in the series contains the work of distinguished scholars chosen for their expertise in a particular era or region.
The eighteenth century saw the end of witch trials everywhere. The authors chart the process of and reasons for the decriminalization of witchcraft, but also challenge the widespread assumption that Europe then became "disenchanted." Here for the first time are surveys of the social role of witchcraft in European communities, as well as a full treatment of Victorian supernaturalism and of the continued importance of witchcraft and magic as topics of debate among intellectuals and other writers.
Bengt Ankarloo is Professor of History at Lund University, Sweden. Stuart Clark is Professor of History at the University of Wales, Swansea.