The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

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W. W. Norton & Company, Apr 17, 1998 - History - 370 pages
18 Reviews

"A pioneer work in . . . the sexual structuring of society. This is not just another book about witchcraft."--Edmund S. Morgan, Yale University

Confessing to "Familiarity with the Devils," Mary Johnson, a servant, was executed by Connecticut officials in 1648. A wealthy Boston widow, Ann Hibbens, was hanged in 1656 for casting spells on her neighbors. In 1662, Ann Cole was "taken with very strange Fits" and fueled an outbreak of witchcraft accusations in Hartford a generation before the notorious events in Salem took place. More than three hundred years later the question still haunts us: Why were these and other women likely witches? Why were they vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft? In this work Carol Karlsen reveals the social construction of witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England and illuminates the larger contours of gender relations in that society.
  

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Review: The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

User Review  - Naomi Baker - Goodreads

I enjoyed parts of the book. One can tell it was written for a dissertation or thesis, and is fairly academic, but I skipped the tables and got some tidbits. Read full review

Review: The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

User Review  - Janel Tortorice - Goodreads

"If witches really are a thing of the past, why, we must ask, are their simultaneously alluring and demonic shapes still so viciously tormenting men today?" From the afterword to the Norton paperback ... Read full review

Contents

One New Englands Witchcraft Beliefs
1
Two The Demographic Basis of Witchcraft
46
Three The Economic Basis of Witchcraft
77
Six New Englands Wellordered Society
182
Seven Brands Plucked Out of the Burning
222
EPILOGUE
253
AFTERWORD TO THE NORTON PAPERBACK EDITION
259
LIST OF ACCUSED WITCHES
267
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Carol F. Karlsen is professor of history at the University of Michigan.

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