The Decline of Magic : Britain in the Enlightenment / Michael Hunter.

Author
Other titles
  • Britain in the Enlightenment
  • JSTOR
Published
  • New Haven, CT : Yale University Press [2020]
Physical description
1 online resource (265 pages)
ISBN
  • 0-300-24946-2
Notes
  • Also issued in print: 2020.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Reproduction available: APUC scholarship online package
  • Mode of access: World Wide Web.
  • In English.
  • Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (publisher's Web site, viewed 06. Apr 2020)
Audience
  • specialized
  • Specialized.
Contents
  • Frontmatter -- CONTENTS -- Preface -- List of Illustrations -- List of Abbreviations -- Introduction. The Supernatural, Science and 'Atheism' -- 1. John Wagstaffe, Witchcraft and the Nature of Restoration Free- thought -- 2. From the Deists to Francis Hutchinson -- 3. The Ambivalence of the Early Royal Society -- 4. The 'Drummer of Tedworth': Conflicting Interpretations and the Problem of Fraud -- 5. The Enlightenment Rejection of Magic: Mid- century Scepticism and its Milieu -- 6. Second Sight in Scotland: Boyle's Legacy and its Transformation -- Conclusion. The 'Decline of Magic' Reconsidered -- Appendix I. The 'Drummer of Tedworth': A Note on Sources -- Appendix II. Joshua Walker's Paper on Second Sight -- Endnotes -- Index
Related item
Genre
  • Ebooks.
  • Electronic books.
  • Electronic books.
  • History.
  • text
Language
  • English
Internet Resources

Summary

  • A new history which overturns the received wisdom that science displaced magic in Enlightenment Britain In early modern Britain, belief in prophecies, omens, ghosts, apparitions and fairies was commonplace. Among both educated and ordinary people the absolute existence of a spiritual world was taken for granted. Yet in the eighteenth century such certainties were swept away. Credit for this great change is usually given to science - and in particular to the scientists of the Royal Society. But is this justified? Michael Hunter argues that those pioneering the change in attitude were not scientists but freethinkers. While some scientists defended the reality of supernatural phenomena, these sceptical humanists drew on ancient authors to mount a critique both of orthodox religion and, by extension, of magic and other forms of superstition. Even if the religious heterodoxy of such men tarnished their reputation and postponed the general acceptance of anti-magical views, slowly change did come about. When it did, this owed less to the testing of magic than to the growth of confidence in a stable world in which magic no longer had a place.

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British Library: General Reference Collection, St Pancras Reading Rooms YC.2021.a.1720
University of Cambridge Libraries: University Library: South Wing 5 follow signs to South Staircase, Fifth Floor 198.c.202.1
University of Cambridge Libraries: Whipple Library: Main Library UA6.HUN 1
University of Cambridge Libraries: Trinity Hall: Jerwood Library 133.43 HUN
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University of Dundee Yale scholarship online Online location An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click to view
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Imperial College London Library Online location
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University of Leeds Library: Edward Boyle Library, level 11 History of Science C-5 HUN
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Newcastle University Libraries: Philip Robinson Library: Robinson Books Level 4 941.06 HUN
University of Oxford Libraries: All Souls College Library: Stack ground floor Sociol.B.120
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