Crafting the Witch: Gendering Magic in Medieval and Early Modern England

Crafting the Witch Gendering Magic in Medieval and Early Modern England This book analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries In the earlier texts magic is predominantly a m

  • Title: Crafting the Witch: Gendering Magic in Medieval and Early Modern England
  • Author: Heidi Breuer
  • ISBN: 9780415977616
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Hardcover
  • This book analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.In the earlier texts, magic is predominantly a masculine pursuit, garnering its user prestige and power, but in the later texts, magic becomes a primarily feminine activity, one that marks its user as wicked and heretical.This book analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.In the earlier texts, magic is predominantly a masculine pursuit, garnering its user prestige and power, but in the later texts, magic becomes a primarily feminine activity, one that marks its user as wicked and heretical This project explores both the literary and the social motivations for this transformation, seeking an answer to the question, why did the witch become wicked Heidi Breuer traverses both the medieval and early modern periods and considers the way in which the representation of literary witches interacted with the culture at large, ultimately arguing that a series of economic crises in the fourteenth century created a labour shortage met by women As women moved into the previously male dominated economy, literary backlash came in the form of the witch, and social backlash followed soon after in the form of Renaissance witch hunting The witch figure serves a similar function in modern American culture because late industrial capitalism challenges gender conventions in similar ways as the economic crises of the medieval period.

    One thought on “Crafting the Witch: Gendering Magic in Medieval and Early Modern England”

    1. Breuer presents a well-constructed argument that does a good job of covering a range of material. The writing is rather informal despite being a scholarly work, which I didn't mind at first but grew tired of after too many clever one-liners.

    2. The price point on this book (and analysis of Middle English) indicates that it's an academic text, but the writing is startlingly informal at times — as when she calls one particular Disney witch "eeevil". Interesting stuff, though.

    3. It's a good read, interesting but not overly helpful for dissertations, but an engaging read nevertheless.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *