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Weiser Antiquarian Books are
pleased to announce the issue of our seventeenth on-line catalog. This catalog is devoted
to Witchcraft, and presents an interesting selection of rare,
used and out-of-print books on the subject, with an emphasis on works relating
to the 'Witch-Panics' of medieval and post- medieval Europe (and later
North-America) and to the twentieth century 'wiccan' or 'neo-pagan'
Amongst the volumes listed are a number of early works from either
side of the debate over the reality of witchcraft, most of which were written
either in support of or in opposition to the persecution of witches and the
now-infamous witch trials. The books include an extremely rare copy of
what is arguably one of the most sinister books of the time, Henry Boguet's,
Discours des Sorciers (1610). Boguet (1550-1619), was a
notorious judge who is said to have personally pronounced or confirmed the death
sentence on over six hundred 'witches,' and his Discours des
Sorciers became one of the text books of French witch-hunters. Just as
influential, though infinitely less malignant, was Sadducismus
Triumphatus: Or, A full and plain Evidence, Concerning Witches and Apparitions
... , here represented by a copy of the Fourth Edition (1726).
The book's author, Joseph Glanvil, wrote the volume in reaction to a growing
skepticism about the reality of witchcraft, and attempted to provide scientific
and philosophical evidence of it existence. Several of the works to which
Glanvil took exception are also presented, notably Reginald Scot's, The
Discovery Of Witchcraft. (Third Impression, 1665) and John
Webster's, The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft (First
Edition, 1677) Both works contain considerable source material on the
alleged witchcraft practices whose existence they doubted, with Scot's including
the text of an unusual manuscript on methods of infernal conjuration.In spite of
the circulation of such refutations the 'witch-panic' re-surfaced in colonial
New England - most famously in Salem, Massachusetts - and the third section of
the catalog comprises a selection of important studies of the American witch
persecutions. Perhaps the scarcest of the works presented in this section is a
First Edition of Charles W. Upham's, Salem Witchcraft. With an Account of
Salem Village and A History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects.
(1867) in the extremely scarce four volume issue, which was
limited to 100 numbered sets. There are also a number of other important
histories, including a First Edition of Kittredge's, Witchcraft in Old and
New England, (1928) and a three-volume set of the reprint edition
of Lea's Materials Toward A History Of Witchcraft (1957) ,
as well as some rather charming local works such as M. V. B. Perley's A
Short History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Illustrated by a Verbatim Report
of Mrs. Elizabeth Howe's Trial. (1911) .
The fourth section of the catalog focuses on books relating to the twentieth century 'wiccan' or 'neo-pagan' revival. Included are First Editions of two works by Charles Leland that arguably provided the initial impetus for the movement, his Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune-Telling. Illustrated by Numerous Incantations, Specimens of Medical Magic, Anecdotes and Tales, (1891) and Aradia. or The Gospel of the Witches of Italy (1899) . It was of course Leland who first publicly promoted the idea that witchcraft was a survival of an ancient, pre-Christian religion, an idea refined by Margaret Murray in her important if controversial bookThe Witch-Cult In Western Europe (1921) . Murray's work was a great influence on later witchcraft revivalists like Gerald Gardner and Alex Saunders, and she contributed an Introduction to Gardner's Witchcraft Today , several different editions of which are offered for sale, along with other works by members of Gardner's circle.
One of Gardner's better-known acquaintances was the New Zealand born artist, Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979), with whom he enjoyed a lively correspondence. Norton gained considerable notoriety in Australia on account of her outrageous lifestyle, outspokenness and the obviously occult and erotic aspects of her artworks, and her work is now starting to attract enthusiastic attention in Australia and internationally. Dubbed 'the Witch of Kings Cross' (Sydney, Australia), Norton was vilified by the popular press during her lifetime, and was the subject of numerous prosecutions, achieving the dubious honour of being the only woman artist to be charged with 'exhibiting obscene articles' in Victoria, the only artist in Australia to have had a book of her works prosecuted for obscenity (Sydney 1952), and the only Australian artist to have had works destroyed by judicial order (again on grounds of their alleged obscenity). Norton is the subject of the fifth section of this catalog, which includes a number of books containing reproductions of her unusual and challenging artworks. Amongst these are two issues of the Second Edition of The Art of Rosaleen Norton , with poems by her then-lover Gavin Greenlees, and The Occult Visions of Rosaleen Norton ,an illustrated catalog with essay which accompanied the exhibition of her works held in Sydney in 2000.
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Our next catalog, Number 18, will again be devoted to works on Aleister Crowley and his circle. It should be out early in June, 2007. Future catalogs will be devoted to Austin Osman Spare, Spiritualism, Mythology, Theosophy, Magic, Grimoires, and other of our specialties, and there will of course be more of our specialist lists on Aleister Crowley.
For other books you can also always visit our website: http://www.weiserantiquarian.com where we currently have over 13,000 books listed, with new stock added weekly
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