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Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft, 2nd Edition

Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft, 2nd Edition

Robin Briggs

ISBN: 978-0-631-23325-1

Apr 2002, Wiley-Blackwell

416 pages

Select type: Hardcover

In Stock

$165.95

Description

Witches and Neighbours is a highly original and unconventional analysis of a fascinating historical phenomenon. Unlike other studies of the subject which focus on the mechanisms of persecution, this book presents a rich picture of witchcraft as an all-pervasive aspect of life in early modern Europe.

This book is not available from Blackwell in the United States and the Philippines.


  • A fascinating and accessible account of the central role of witchcraft in early modern Europe.
  • A standard work on the subject of witchcraft now available in a revised edition with an updated bibliography.
  • Presents an unconventional interpretation of the role and influence of witchcraft
  • Argues that witchcraft was as complex and changing as the society of which it formed a vital part.
  • Draws on a range of original sources to vividly illustrate the arguments.

Maps ix

Preface to the Second Edition xiv

Preface to the First Edition xv

Introduction 1

1 Myths of the Perfect Witch 12

2 The Experience of Bewitchment 51

3 Supernatural Power and Magical Remedies 82

4 The Projection of Evil 115

5 Witch-Finders and Witch Cures 146

6 Love and Hatred: Spouses and Kin 191

7 Men against Women: The Gendering of Witchcraft 224

8 The Age of Iron 250

9 The Web of Power 276

10 Internal and External Worlds 321

Conclusion 343

Notes 357

Further Reading 377

Additional Bibliography 386

Index 390

"In this learned and meticulously researched book, Robin Briggs lays to rest many of the modern myths about the witch craze, without in any way diminishing its horror... Briggs skilfully shows how the myths of witchcraft were linked with fundamental human experiences of pain and anxiety... Lucid and important." Karen Armstrong, The Times <!--end-->

"Briggs provides a fascinating psychological insight into the ideological system that produced the trials. To understand them within their own historical context, he argues, is to realize that a belief in the witches' power was neither irrational nor absurd... the evidence from this compelling book suggests that human actions are far more determined by irrational fears than our social selves are willing to accept." Julia Wheelwright, New Statesman

"I salute [Briggs's] rigorous and thoughtful scholarship." James Morrow, The Guardian


  • A fascinating and accessible account of the central role of witchcraft in early modern Europe.

  • A standard work on the subject of witchcraft now available in a revised edition with an updated bibliography.

  • Presents an unconventional interpretation of the role and influence of witchcraft

  • Argues that witchcraft was as complex and changing as the society of which it formed a vital part.

  • Draws on a range of original sources to vividly illustrate the arguments.