Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage

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This 1980 book examines witchcraft beliefs and experiences in the Bocage, a rural area of western France. It also introduced a powerful theoretical attitude towards the progress of the ethnographer's enquiries, suggesting that a full knowledge of witchcraft involves being 'caught up' in it oneself. In the Bocage, being bewitched is to be 'caught' in a sequence of misfortunes. According to those who are bewitched, the culprit is someone in the neighbourhood: the witch, who can cast a spell with a word, a touch or a look, and whose 'power' comes from a book of spells inherited from an ancestor. Only a professional magician, an 'unwitcher', has any chance of breaking the succession of misfortunes which befall those who have been bewitched. He undertakes a battle of magic with the suspected witch, a battle which is eventually fatal.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521297875
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 1,304,338
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. There Must Be a Subject; Section 1. The Way Things Are Said: 1. The mirror-image of an academic; 2. Words spoken with insistence; 3. When words wage war; Section 2. Between 'Caught' and Catching: 1. Those who haven't been caught can't talk about it; 2. A name added to a position; 3. Taking one's distances from whom (or what)?; Section 3. When the Text Has its Own Foreword; Part II. The Realm of Secrecy; Section 4. Someone Must Be Credulous; Section 5. Tempted By the Impossible; Section 6. The Less One Talks, The Less One Is Caught; Part III. Telling It All; Section 7. If You Could Do Something: 1. A bewitched in hospital; 2. She a magician?; 3. The misunderstanding; 4. Impotent against impotence; Section 8. The Omnipotent Witch: 1. The imperishable bastard; 2. Speaking; 3. Touching; 4. Looking; 5. A death at the crossroads; 6. Ex post facto; Section 9. Taking Over: 1. Inexplicable misfortunes; 2. The other witch; Section 10. To Return Evil for Evil: 1. Madame Marie from Alençon; 2. Madame Marie from Izé; 3. If you feel capable; Section 11. Mid-way Speculations: 1. Concepts and presuppositions; 2. Attack by witchcraft and its warding off; Appendices; References.

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