Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft

June 13, 2015 - Comment

The stark immediacy of what happened in 1692 has obscured the complex web of human passion which had been growing for more than a generation before building toward the climactic witch trials. Salem Possessed explores the lives of the men and women who helped spin that web and who in the end found themselves entangled

The stark immediacy of what happened in 1692 has obscured the complex web of human passion which had been growing for more than a generation before building toward the climactic witch trials. Salem Possessed explores the lives of the men and women who helped spin that web and who in the end found themselves entangled in it.

Comments

Zeldock says:

Important but flawed When I was a history grad student in the mid-1980s, Salem Possessed was widely viewed as a masterpiece of the “new” social history, i.e., the history of the lives of everyday people, as opposed to major political events and cultural high points. In it, scholars Boyer and Nissenbaum take the then-standard Salem witchcraft narrative and subject it to reinterpretation on the basis of patterns and trends they see in the social history of Salem and Salem Village (now Danvers)…

Jennifer B. Barton "Beth Barton" says:

An Example of Fine Research Finally, someone to take the hocus pocus out of this period of history and actually try to make some sense out of a sociological phenomenon gone wildly awry. While others relied on the tabloid type accounts of events left behind in court depositions, Nissenbaum and Boyer get into the nitty gritty to show you what really happened. Accessing Parris’s sermons, wills, seemingly unrelated civil conflict court records, tax records, censuses, and more, this book starts from the beginning – the…

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