The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England by Carol F. Karlsen, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

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

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by Carol F. Karlsen
     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Karlsen has written an intriguing social history of witchcraft in Puritan New England (1620-1725). She unearths detailed evidence which demonstrates that prosecuted and accused witches generally were older, married women who had violated the religious and/or economic Puritan social hierarchy. Beyond their childbearing years and sometimes the recipients of inheritances, these women threatened the male-dominated social order and drew the ire of middle-aged men who accused them of witchcraft. A well-written, provocative addition to the recent scholarship on New England witchcraft.David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington Extension, Seattle
Mary Beth Norton
“A remarkable achievement. The 'witches' come alive in this book, not as stereotypes, but as real women living in a society that suspected and feared their independence and combativeness.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393024784
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/1987
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
8.53(w) x 5.79(h) x 1.17(d)

Meet the Author

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

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