Witches on the Web: A Review of Some Scholarly Sites on Witches
Baider, Fabienne H.
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This page consists of a single but scholarly essay that examines the current state of scholarship on gender and the European witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It also suggests some directions for further work such as the mirror image of the saint/witch female icons. The essay's main argument is that the witch hunt established a connection linking women with the Devil and therefore succeeded in subjugating women who were not dependent on men. This twenty-five-page document (originally published in Journal of Women's History, Fall, 1995) includes a mine of classic references (one of the best encountered on this topic) and more upbeat works such as Judith Brown's Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (Oxford, 1986) and Ellen Goody's "Legitimate and Illegitimate Aggression in a West African State" (1970). Among the articles, The Malleus Malificarum - A Commentary is a clear and short presentation on the 1486 book by Dominican monks Sprenger and Kramer that was so influential in the European witch hunt. It also offers some bibliographic references. The link titled Witches!- An Extra-Ordinary Expression of Misogyny is a summary of key events that took place in late Renaissance Europe. The originality of this short essay is in its mention of Pandora, Aristotle, and the Judeo-Christian misogynistic attitudes that contributed to the conditions leading to the witch hunts. The other two essays, The Witch in Scotland & the Witch in East Anglia - A Comparative Study and The Witch & the Demoniac, are also good discussions and substantial in their references. [Stephanie Du Barry]'s illustrations are superb. A minor problem in the title bar is that her page is named "Greywing's Witch Hunt Pages," while on the page itself, the title is "Steph's Witch Hunt Pages." Thus, the contents of the website are for those interested from a factual perspective not only in the European witch trials, as indicated by the title of the website, but also in American witch hunts and witch-related topics. The site is organized by topic. The materials, consisting of timelines, excerpts from pertinent texts, references to books, discussions of terminology, images, and links to other related sites, appear to be an excellent survey of the witch trials. For research and class projects, they provide starting points into further study. One of the most interesting and informative features of this site was the author's expanding of her terminological explanations with excerpts from newsgroup discussions of those terms. There is also a link to recently added material.