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Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of…
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Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692

by Bernard Rosenthal

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In Memory of My Parents Charles and Gutte Rosenthal
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Few topics in American culture have received the broad attention received by the Salem witch trials.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521558204, Paperback)

Salem Story engages the story of the Salem witch trials through an analysis of the surviving primary documentation and juxtaposes that against the way in which our culture has mythologized the events of 1692. Salem Story examines a variety of individual motives that converged to precipitate the witch hunt. The book also examines subsequent mythologies that emerged from the events of 1692. Of the many assumptions about the Salem Witch Trials, the most persistent one remains that they were precipitated by a circle of hysterical girls. Through an analysis of what actually happened, through reading the primary material, the emerging story shows a different picture, one where "hysteria" inappropriately describes the events and where accusing males as well as females participated in strategies of accusation and confession that followed a logical, rational pattern.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:18 -0400)

Salem Story engages the story of the Salem witch trials by contrasting an analysis of the surviving primary documentation with the way events of 1692 have been mythologised by our culture. Resisting the temptation to explain the Salem witch trials in the context of an inclusive theoretical framework, the book examines a variety of individual motives that converged to precipitate the witch-hunt. Of the many assumptions about the Salem witch trials, the most persistent is that they were instigated by a circle of hysterical girls. Through an analysis of what actually happened - by perusal of the primary materials with the 'close reading' approach of a literary critic - a different picture emerges, one where 'hysteria' inappropriately describes the logical, rational strategies of accusation and confession followed by the accusers, males and females alike.… (more)

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