Search results for: witchcraft-myths-in-american-culture

Witchcraft Myths in American Culture

Author : Marion Gibson
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A fascinating examination of how Americans think about and write about witches, from the 'real' witches tried and sometimes executed in early New England to modern re-imaginings of witches as pagan priestesses, comic-strip heroines and feminist icons. The first half of the book is a thorough re-reading of the original documents describing witchcraft prosecutions from 1640-1700 and a re-thinking of these sources as far less coherent and trustworthy than most historians have considered them to be. The second half of the book examines how these historical narratives have transformed into myths of witchcraft still current in American society, writing and visual culture. The discussion includes references to everything from Increase Mather and Edgar Allan Poe to Joss Whedon (the writer/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which includes a Wiccan character) and The Blair Witch Project.

Witchcraft Myths in American Culture

Author : Marion Gibson
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A fascinating examination of how Americans think about and write about witches, from the 'real' witches tried and sometimes executed in early New England to modern re-imaginings of witches as pagan priestesses, comic-strip heroines and feminist icons. The first half of the book is a thorough re-reading of the original documents describing witchcraft prosecutions from 1640-1700 and a re-thinking of these sources as far less coherent and trustworthy than most historians have considered them to be. The second half of the book examines how these historical narratives have transformed into myths of witchcraft still current in American society, writing and visual culture. The discussion includes references to everything from Increase Mather and Edgar Allan Poe to Joss Whedon (the writer/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which includes a Wiccan character) and The Blair Witch Project.

The Wizard of Oz as American Myth

Author : Alissa Burger
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Since the publication of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, authors, filmmakers, and theatrical producers have been retelling and reinventing this uniquely American fairy tale. This volume examines six especially significant incarnations of the story: Baum’s original novel, the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz (1939), Sidney Lumet’s African American film musical The Wiz (1978), Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995), Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s Broadway hit Wicked: A New Musical (2003), and the SyFy Channel miniseries Tin Man (2007). A close consideration of these works demonstrates how versions of Baum’s tale are influenced by and help shape notions of American myth, including issues of gender, race, home, and magic, and makes clear that the Wizard of Oz narrative remains compelling and relevant today.

A Storm of Witchcraft

Author : Emerson W. Baker
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Presents an historical analysis of the Salem witch trials, examining the factors that may have led to the mass hysteria, including a possible occurrence of ergot poisoning, a frontier war in Maine, and local political rivalries.

America Bewitched

Author : Owen Davies
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America Bewitched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin. Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yet the history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.

The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

Author : Bryan F. Le Beau
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Between June 10 and September 22, 1692, nineteen people were hanged for practicing witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. One person was pressed to death, and over 150 others were jailed, where still others died. The Story of the Salem Witch Trials is a history of that event. It provides a much needed synthesis of the most recent scholarship on the subject, places the trials into the context of the Great European Witch-Hunt, and relates the events of 1692 to witch-hunting throughout seventeenth century New England. This complex and difficult subject is covered in a uniquely accessible manner that captures all the drama that surrounded the Salem witch trials. From beginning to end, the reader is carried along by the author’s powerful narration and mastery of the subject. While covering the subject in impressive detail, Bryan Le Beau maintains a broad perspective on events, and wherever possible, lets the historical characters speak for themselves. Le Beau highlights the decisions made by individuals responsible for the trials that helped turn what might have been a minor event into a crisis that has held the imagination of students of American history.

Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience

Author : Via Hedera
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Witchcraft and magic in America is an inherently multicultural experience and the folklore of our ancestors from every country converges here at a crossroads. It’s a complicated history; one of uncertainty and fear, displacement and enslavement, merging and migration. Our ancestors may not have agreed on how they saw the world or the magic that inhabits the world, but they shared a very real fear of Witches. Hags, Devils, charms and spells; witchery is rooted in our deepest superstitions and folklore. The traditions of people and their cultures stretch and intersect across the country and this is where the unique traditions of American witchcraft and magic are born. As practitioners seek to revive and reconstruct the paths of our ancestors, we’ve begun to trace the interconnected roots of witchcraft folklore as it emerged in the Americas, from the blending of people and their faiths. For multiracial practitioners, this is part of our identity as Americans and as witches of this country. Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience is an exploration of the folklore, magic and witchcraft that was forged in the New World.

Mysticism Myth and Celtic Identity

Author : Marion Gibson
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Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Identity explores how the mythical and mystical past informs national imaginations. Building on notions of invented tradition and myths of the nation, it looks at the power of narrative and fiction to shape identity, with particular reference to the British and Celtic contexts. The authors consider how aspects of the past are reinterpreted or reimagined in a variety of ways to give coherence to desired national groupings, or groups aspiring to nationhood and its 'defence'. The coverage is unusually broad in its historical sweep, dealing with work from prehistory to the contemporary, with a particular emphasis on the period from the eighteenth century to the present. The subject matter includes notions of ancient deities, Druids, Celticity, the archaeological remains of pagan religions, traditional folk tales, racial and religious myths and ethnic politics, and the different types of returns and hauntings that can recycle these ideas in culture. Innovative and interdisciplinary, the scholarship in Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Identity is mainly literary but also geographical and historical and draws on religious studies, politics and the social sciences. Thus the collection offers a stimulatingly broad number of new viewpoints on a matter of great topical relevance: national identity and the politicization of its myths.

Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland

Author : Andrew Sneddon
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This is the first academic overview of witchcraft and popular magic in Ireland and spans the medieval to the modern period. Based on a wide range of un-used and under-used primary source material, and taking account of denominational difference between Catholic and Protestant, it provides a detailed account of witchcraft trials and accusation.

Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft

Author : Marion Gibson
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Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft is an exploration of witchcraft in the literature of Britain and America from the 16th and 17th centuries through to the present day. As well as the themes of history and literature (politics and war, genre and intertextuality), the book considers issues of national identity, gender and sexuality, race and empire, and more. The complex fascination with witchcraft through the ages is investigated, and the importance of witches in the real world and in fiction is analysed. The book begins with a chapter dedicated to the stories and records of witchcraft in the Renaissance and up until the English Civil War, such as the North Berwick witches and the work of the ‘Witch Finder Generall’ Matthew Hopkins. The significance of these accounts in shaping future literature is then presented through the examination of extracts from key texts, such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Middleton’s The Witch, among others. In the second half of the book, the focus shifts to a consideration of the Romantic rediscovery of Renaissance witchcraft in the eighteenth century, and its further reinvention and continued presence throughout the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the establishment of witchcraft studies as a subject in its own right, the impact of the First World War and end of the British Empire on witchcraft fiction, the legacy of the North Berwick, Hopkins and Salem witch trials, and the position of witchcraft in culture, including filmic and televisual culture, today. Equipped with an extensive list of primary and secondary sources, Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft is essential reading for all students of witchcraft in modern British and American culture and early modern history and literature.