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The spoken word: Oral culture in Britain, 1500-1850

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ISBN: 9780719057465 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Abstract

The early modern period was of great significance throughout Europe with respect to its gradual transition from a largely oral to a fundamentally literate society. On the one hand, the spoken word remained of the utmost importance to the dissemination of ideas, the communication of information and the transmission of the cultural repertoire. On the other hand, the proliferation of written documents of all kinds, the development of printing and the spread of popular literacy combined to transform the nature of communication. Studies previous to this have traditionally focussed on individual countries or regions, and emphasised the contradictions between oral and literate culture. The essays in this fascinating collection depart from these approaches in several ways. By examining not only English, but also Scottish and Welsh oral culture, they provide the first pan-British study of the subject. The authors also emphasise the ways in which oral and literate culture continued to compliment and inform each other, rather than focusing exclusively on their incompatibility, or on the 'inevitable' triumph of the written word. The chronological focus, ranging from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, with glances ahead to the twentieth, set the problem against a longer chronological span than most other studies, providing a link between early modern and modern oral and literate cultures. This book it will be of interest to students and scholars of British history, Linguistics, Literary Studies and Folklore Studies.

Keywords

culture --- oral --- folklore --- linguistics

Witchcraft narratives in Germany: Rothenburg, 1561-1652

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ISBN: 9780719052590 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into 'witch-crazes' in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city which experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The author explores the factors that explain the absence of a 'witch-craze' in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a lively narrative style, this innovative study invites a wide readership to share in the compelling drama of early modern witch trials. It will be essential reading for researchers working in witchcraft studies, as well as those in the wider field of early modern European history.

Keywords

germany --- folklore --- witchcraft --- witches

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2003 (2)