Cunning-folk: Popular Magic in English History

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Hambledon and London, 2003 - History - 246 pages
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Local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued services to the community, cunning-folk 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 malevolent 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  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Another review of a book a read a few months ago. We are in the midst of a bloom of historical effort directed at early modern witchcraft and other magical traditions after a few decades in which the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

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


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About the author (2003)

Owen Davies is Lecturer in History at the University of Hertfordshire and the author of A People Bewitched (1999).

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