21 Jan 2020

Seeing the Light

Michael Hunter. The Decline of Magic: Britain in the Enlightenment. Yale University Press (14 Jan. 2020)
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Early modern Britain embraced many forms of the supernatural and took the absolute existence of a spiritual world for granted. Yet in the eighteenth century these certainties were swept away. In this ground-breaking account, Michael Hunter argues that the real pioneers in skepticism about magic were humanists and free-thinkers. However, their critical attitude toward religion meant that their views were often dismissed. Hunter reveals just how divided opinion remained and how magic was never properly tested in the Enlightenment.