Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640–70

Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640–70 by Frederick Valletta

Title: Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640–70
Author: Frederick Valletta
ISBN10: 0754602443
ISBN13: 978-0754602446
Publisher: Routledge (December 28, 2000)
Language: English
Subcategory: Europe
Size PDF: 1878 kb
Size Fb2: 1361 kb
Rating: 4.6/5
Votes: 277
Pages: 288 pages
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Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640–70 by Frederick Valletta


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This study examines the relationship between élite and popular beliefs in witchcraft, magic and superstition in England, analyzing such beliefs against the background of political, religious and social upheaval characteristic of the Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration periods. Belief in witchcraft received new impulses because of the general ferment of religious ideas and the tendency of participants in the Civil Wars to resort to imagery drawn from beliefs about the devil and witches; or to use portents to argue for the wrongs of their opponents. Throughout the work, the author stresses that deeply held superstitions were fundamental to belief in witches, the devil, ghosts, apparitions and supernatural healing. Despite the fact that popular superstitions were often condemned, it was recognized that their propaganda value was too useful to ignore. A host of pamphlets and treatises were published during this period which unashamedly incorporated such beliefs. Valletta here explores the manner in which political and religious authorities somewhat cynically used demonic imagery and language to discredit their opponents and to manipulate popular opinion.