1 Sept 2021

The Culture of Magic

Marina Montesano. Folklore, Magic, and Witchcraft: Cultural Exchanges from the Twelfth to Eighteenth Century. Routledge Studies in the History of Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic.
(20 August 2021)
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This volume offers eighteen studies linked together by a common focus on the circulation and reception of motifs and beliefs in the field of folklore, magic, and witchcraft. The chapters traverse a broad spectrum both chronologically and thematically; yet together, their shared focus on cultural exchange and encounters emerges in an important way, revealing a valuable methodology that goes beyond the pure comparativism that has dominated historiography in recent decades. Several of the chapters touch on gender relations and contact between different religious faiths, using case studies to explore the variety of these encounters.

Whilst the essays focus geographically on Europe, they prefer to investigate relationships over highlighting singular, local traits. In this way, the collection aims to respond to the challenge set by recent debates in cultural studies, for a global history that prioritises inclusivity, moving beyond biased or learned attachments toward broader and broadening foci and methods. With analysis of sources from manuscripts and archival documents to iconography, and drawing on writings in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, and other languages, this volume is essential reading for all students and scholars interested in cultural exchange and ideas about folklore, magic, and witchcraft in medieval and early modern Europe.