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Sunday, 29 May 2005

Witchcraze A New History Of The European Witch Hunts

Witchcraze A New History Of The European Witch Hunts Cover

Book: Witchcraze A New History Of The European Witch Hunts by Anne Barstow

Barstow's history examines feminist concerns relating to the witch hunts without succumbing to a prejudicial bias. Though her focus is the persecution of women as witches, the text realistically examines the sources of the problem without devolving into a feminist tirade or resorting to man- or church-bashing.

Barstow's book is definitive portrait of the witch-hunts that terrorized European women during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Though the persecution, torture, and execution of more than seven million women suspected of being witches during this period has been documented in other historical sources, Barstow is the first scholar to offer a convincing gender analysis of the Reformation-era witch craze. According to Barstow, independent and intelligent women often proved to be convenient targets for misogynists seeking scapegoats for every conceivable social ill. Most interesting is the author's credible assertion that the witch-hunts not only paralleled the emergence of a more patriarchal society, but also heralded the disturbing decline in the status of women that continued over the course of the next several centuries. A fascinating historical treatise that provides an evolutionary context for the contemporary proliferation and escalation of violence toward women.

The text addresses a variety of issues significant to the study of the fairy tales, particularly in defining the methods of characterization that were used to identify and to stereotype women as witches. The same characteristics, both real and projected, that were used to identify and persecute witches during the European witch hunts can be clearly seen in the characterization of witches in fairy tales. Barstow identifies "the witch" as a hostile stereotype by which "Women who challenge patriarchal structures... will be made to pay." This is as true in fairy tales as it was during the witch hunts. Barstow's text is indispensable to Understanding how the witch character developed as well as examining the purpose of gender roles in fairy tales.

Barstow sees the Witch Trials as a past expression of the ! continuing woman-fearing and hating that occurs in our world. Though more subtle forms continue today, she cites that we remain in a world with female-genital mutilation in Africa and wife-burning in India. Widespread rape and wife-beating in the USA would be another form of this. The witch trials were a particularly disturbing form of historical misogyny in Early Modern Europe.

The witch trials were a phenomenon in which the majority of victims were women. Most scholarly accounts tend to ignore or gloss-over this fact. This original account offers much of which is missing in the rest of the literature.

Buy Anne Barstow's book: Witchcraze A New History Of The European Witch Hunts

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Arthur Edward Waite - The Real History Of The Rosicrucians Part Iii
Arthur Edward Waite - The Real History Of The Rosicrucians Part I
Allen Greenfield - The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft
Walter Gibson - Witchcraft A History Of The Black Art