The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic

ISBN : 9780199608447

Owen Davies
328 Pages
189 x 246 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
Oxford Illustrated History
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  • The story of witchcraft and magic - from the ancient world to Harry Potter
  • Covers 4000 years of magical practices and ideas in the West, from the first examples of spells written on clay tablets in the ancient world
  • Explores the magical beliefs of the Roman, Greeks, Jews, and early Christians - and the role of the Arabs in preserving the magical knowledge of the Ancients
  • Investigates what the archives really tell us about the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
  • Tells the story of post-Enlightenment magic and the rise of Wicca in the twentieth century
  • Examines the the anthropology of magic around the globe, from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries
  • Looks at the cinematic portrayal of witches and magicians, from The Wizard of Oz to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This richly illustrated history provides a readable and fresh approach to the extensive and complex story of witchcraft and magic. Telling the story from the dawn of writing in the ancient world to the globally successful Harry Potter films, the authors explore a wide range of magical beliefs and practices, the rise of the witch trials, and the depiction of the Devil-worshipping witch. 
The book also focuses on the more recent history of witchcraft and magic, from the Enlightenment to the present, exploring the rise of modern magic, the anthropology of magic around the globe, and finally the cinematic portrayal of witches and magicians, from The Wizard of Oz to Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Editor's Foreword
1: Magic in the Ancient World, Peter Maxwell-Stuart
2: Medieval Magic, Sophie Page
3: The Demonologists, James Sharpe
4: The Witch Trials, Rita Voltmer
5: The Witch and Magician in European Art, Charles Zika
6: The World of Popular Magic, Owen Davies
7: The Rise of Modern Magic, Owen Davies
8: Witchcraft and Magic in the Age of Anthropology, Robert J. Wallis
9: Witches on Screen, Willem de Blécourt
Further Reading
Picture acknowledgements

About the author: 

Edited by Owen Davies, Professor of Social History, University of Hertfordshire
Owen Davies is Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written extensively on the history of magic, witchcraft, ghosts, and popular medicine, including The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts (2007), Grimoires: A History of Magic Books (2009), Paganism: A Very Short Introduction (2011), Magic: A Very Short Introduction (2012), and most recently America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem(2013).

Owen Davies, University of Hertfordshire
Peter Maxwell-Stuart, University of St Andrews
Sophie Page, University College London
James Sharpe, University of York
Rita Voltmer, University of Trier
Charles Zika, University of Melbourne
Robert J. Wallis, Richmond University
Willem de Blécourt, Huizinga Institute/Meertens Institute, Amsterdam

"As well as a masterly summary of Voltaires life, the reader gains a much better understanding of 18th-century France and Europe." - David Lorimer, Network Review

"An absorbing and illuminating study... Owen Davies succeeds in delivering an excellent, extremely useful work." - Clive Prince, Magonia Review

"Another quality book from Oxford University Press ... beautifully and informatively illustrated ... a goldmine for anyone looking for information on witchcraft and magic and perhaps those looking for inspiration and some unusual little fact or nugget if they want to dabble in some fiction involving witches or magicians, dark or otherwise." - Ian Hunter, Concatenation

"The breadth of knowledge shown here is impressive ... It informs, shocks, repulses and entertains ... The colour plates in the book are in turn sumptuous, beautiful and horrific a scholarly and impressive work" - On Magazine (Yorkshire)

"If you are looking for a book about the history of witchcraft that is comprehensive and impeccably researched, but also well written and fascinating to read, then the new The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic is what you should pop out and buy ... The illustrations, which include colour plates, really add to the book. As a practising witch myself, a photograph of what an ancient magical item or spell really looks like is more use than just a description." - Bad Witch

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