New Book | Witchcraft and Folk Belief

Posted in books by Editor on October 30, 2016

From Palgrave Macmillan:

Lizanne Henderson, Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment Scotland, 1670–1740 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 382 pages, ISBN: 978-0230294387, $110.

51p4eqqz3vlTaking an interdisciplinary perspective, Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment represents the first in-depth investigation of Scottish witchcraft and witch belief post-1662, the period of supposed decline of such beliefs, an age which has been referred to as the ‘long eighteenth century’, coinciding with the Scottish Enlightenment. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were undoubtedly a period of transition and redefinition of what constituted the supernatural, at the interface between folk belief and the philosophies of the learned. For the latter the eradication of such beliefs equated with progress and civilization, but for others, such as the devout, witch belief was a matter of faith, such that fear and dread of witches and their craft lasted well beyond the era of the major witch-hunts. This study seeks to illuminate the distinctiveness of the Scottish experience, to assess the impact of enlightenment thought upon witch belief, and to understand how these beliefs operated across all levels of Scottish society.

Lizanne Henderson has been a lecturer and cultural historian at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow since 2004. She is Editor of Review of Scottish Culture and has published on the Scottish witch-hunts, folk belief, ballads, critical animal studies, Scottish diaspora, polar explorers, and the transatlantic slave trade. Her books include Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture (2009) and, with Edward J. Cowan, Scottish Fairy Belief: A History (2001), and A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland, 1000–1600 (2011).

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List of Illustrations, Figures, and Tables
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Following the Witch
1  Fixing the Limits of Belief
2  The Idea of Witchcraft
3  Demons, Devilry, and Domestic Magic: Hunting Witches in Scotland
4  Darkness Visible
5  Bemused, Bothered, and Bewildered: Witchcraft Debated
6  ‘Worshipping at the Altar of Ignorance’: Some Late Scottish Witchcraft Cases Considered
7  The Survival of Witch Belief in South West Scotland: A Case Study
8  The Persistence of Witch Belief





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