Abstract

Abstract:

This article addresses Stuart Clark's frequently cited assertion that early-modern demonologists could conceive only of female witches. By keeping to the realm of ideas and early-modern intellectual discourse, as does Clark himself, I suggest that historians are overlooking the subtlety of Clark's position; once this subtlety is recognized, it opens the door to a more nuanced conceptualization of early-modern witchcraft that allows both women and men to be witches even while the witch itself remains female. I will illustrate the utility of considering "witch" as a concept distinct from the person categorized as a witch. In the second part of the essay, I will speculate as to how a person (man or woman) might come to embody the concept of witch. I hypothesize that an invisible female witch body, understood analogously to the early-modern royal body, was what allowed a person to be categorized as a witch.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5111
Print ISSN
1556-8547
Pages
pp. 64-83
Launched on MUSE
2021-08-03
Open Access
No
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