Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History

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A&C Black, 2007 - History - 246 pages
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Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife.
While cunning-folk sometimes fell foul of the authorities, both church and state often turned a blind eye to their existence and practices, distinguishing what they did from the rare and sensational cases of malvolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.

 

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User Review  - Dead_Dreamer - LibraryThing

Over all this book was really good, but not at good at his newer book, GRIMOIRES. This one was a bit drier, but still well worth reading. Davies really gets into the legal history of cunning folk ... Read full review

Contents

1 CunningFolk and the Law
1
2 For Good or Evil?
29
3 Who and Why
67
4 Services
93
5 Books
119
6 Written Charms
147
7 European Comparisons
163
8 CunningFolk in the Twentieth Century
187
Notes
199
Bibliography
219
Index
239
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About the author (2007)

Owen Davies is Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire and the author of Murder, Magic, Madness: The Victorian Trials of Dove and the Wizard (2005).

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