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Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:38 am
by Max
Hello, I'm thinking (early stages!) of researching the representation of magic/witchcraft/sorcery (the words normally used) in fiction during the early modern period. Can any one think of any suitable books? I've started researching but I thought someone might be able to think outside the box. So far I've got Gulliver's Travels, some Blake stuff and a couple of plays I can't remember the name of at this moment :-? . If you can help, thanks!

Later I might post a few synopses of the books I find in case anyone is interested? (If you are a book geek like me :-D )
Max x

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:03 pm
by Dark Waters
What year range are you looking at?

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:12 am
by Max
Well I wasn't sure, and I found it difficult to find texts from the early-modern period, that's why I broadened it out to 1600s and 1700s, but now I realise that's way too broad! Probably mid-1600s if I had to narrow it down.

I was thinking of writing a paper on it, but then I decided that I'd probably be too close to the subject area and couldn't help but be subjective so I've changed the title of the paper but am still going to study this in my own time anyway (hence the post). I've found some interesting spellbooks/magic manuals - however you describe them - from this period so was interested to see if these ideas were in fiction of that time too. Just a curiosity really! I will post on these when I've gone over them a few more times.

Oh I've rambled, but did I answer your question specifically enough Dark Waters :-? ?

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:43 pm
by Dark Waters
Yes, quite detailed, still I do find it odd that you classify the 1600s as early modern. I was thinking early 1900s so I'll have to think about what novels I know.

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:37 am
by Max
I suppose it is odd. I suppose I was automatically thinking in a book theory way. Thinking aloud: In Europe at least the modern period could be classed when general people started thinking themselves as apart from society and started looking outside of the one-god religions to find meaning in the world (through science or art); throw in the rise of capitalism as well. I suppose now we would be living in a post-modern world, because we are moving away from these ideas. But this is just as I have been taught it, would be interesting to hear other people's views on it.

I found an excellent book the other day that seems delightfully blasphemous. Its called Agrippa's fourth book of occult philosophy 1655, but it is clearly not by Agrippa but probably a group of people. It talks at length about complicated geomancy and knowing spirits' names, and then... raising up spirits in a circle in a way that could be from any modern magic book, and yet every part of it uses the Christian faith. Prayers, church objects, angels guarding the 4 corners. The author/s definitely separate the idea of 'magick' from the devil's 'sorcery' and it uses examples from the bible to justify the use of magic. It's so contradictory, but interesting huh?

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:40 pm
by white_harmony
You would probably find "The Queens Conjuror - The Science and Magic of Dr. Dee" by Benjamin Woolley an interesting read. I know I have lol. His story is amazing to read, and sometimes leaves you absolutely gob smacked! lol Probably not what you're after for your study, but is a really good read. As he was like an extra arm to Elizabeth I's court (her reign was 1558–1603) its possible that throughout the book there are mentions of other books that could be of interest to you, things that were published throughout the era, as John Dee was big on reading and knowing what was being written when and by whom, in some particular areas.

Anyways, probably not what you're after, but definitely a good read if you find the time for it :-D

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:13 am
by Max
Thanks White Harmony. Oh that is very exciting. I am very much looking forward to reading about him! You've made me think that the people who could get away with publishing on magick probably had to be close to the crown so I can apply this to later periods.

Dark Waters - just finished reading something entirely different and of course you are absolutely right in a way, Modernism in literature does start at the late-1800s with realism (duh me), I was thinking in the historical period sense.

Re: Magic in C17 and C18 books

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:18 am
by Max
It feels like I haven't been on here for ages, though it's probably only a week. I'm just popping on to say that John Dee is very interesting, though I probably followed about 2 thirds of his book about his sigil, Monas Hieroglyphica. I found a great website for early books, if you wanted to know more about him and his crowd, but I haven't plundered through it yet.
http://www.esotericarchives.com/esoteric.htm