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A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558…
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A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718 (1911)

by Wallace Notestein

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Popularized historical account of the judicial prosecution of witchcraft, as well as changing public attitudes to it. Published in 1911, it builds its case on the hubristic absolute rationality of its day. Only pundits write with such surety these days. And reviewers.

Basic outline- the belief in witchcraft came from outside of England, was made a felony by James I, and gradually fell into disrepute. Many of those accused of witchcraft and hanged where defenseless crones the locals either wanted rid of or who really did do nasty stuff like poisoning, etc. The smart set eventually ridiculed the superstitious beliefs of country people and a few brave judges and clerics stopped the persecution. As the number of witch trials fell, the number of individual people charged with unlawful acts rose, making it seem like those despised old women and brutish men were scapegoats for a multitude of the sins of others.

Strikes me as curious that so many children pointed the finger at so many adults.

Notestein discounts all supernatural phenomena.
  SomeGuyInVirginia | Mar 26, 2012 |
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Haiku summary
Have an enemy?
Nice way to get ride of one.
Quick drop short sharp shock.
(SomeGuyInVirginia)

Behold a devil
envisaged as its own foe
bids geezers adieu.
(SomeGuyInVirginia)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0815201826, Paperback)

CONTENTS: The Beginnings of English Witchcraft Witchcraft under Elizabeth Reginald Scot The Exorcists James I and Witchcraft Notable Jacobean Cases The Lancashire Witches and Charles I Matthew Hopkins Witchcraft during the Commonwealth and Protectorate The Literature of Witchcraft from 1603 to 1660 Witchcraft under Charles II and James II Glanvill and Webster and the Literary War over Witchcraft, 1660-1688 The Final Decline The Close of the Literary Controversy

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

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