restricted access Witches and Cunning Folk in British Literature 1800–1940
Abstract

abstract:

Relatively little attention has been paid to representations of witches and cunning folk (popular magicians) in British literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There have been a few pioneering works, but they have adopted different definitions of witches, concentrated on different spans of time, and reached different conclusions (and half of them are still contained in unpublished theses). This study covers the whole period between 1800 and 1940 and operates a consistent and rigorous set of definitions of the figures under consideration. It considers images of the witch as villain, victim, and heroine along with parallel images of cunning folk, and it demonstrates what remains constant in them and what changes over this long span of time. In doing so, it is intended to make a contribution to a better understanding of the place of witchcraft and magic in the modern British imagination.


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