Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Magic: A Beginner's Guide (review)

Magic: A Beginner's Guide (review) robert ralley. Magic: A Beginner's Guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2010. Pp. xvi 176. Surveys of the history of magic (and of witchcraft, although this item is decidedly not one of the latter) are thick on the ground, so with each new book, one can fairly ask what new or different elements it offers. The greatest strength of this book is its conceptual breadth. Beyond the standard medieval and early modern history of European magic and its repression, it offers (relatively) lengthy treatment of magic in post-Enlightenment Europe, including coverage of two topics almost never found in more ``standard'' surveys-- stage magic and the modern academic treatment of magic. Covering so much ground in so short a space is a tall order, and the book's deficits inevitably stem from its constant compression of complicated topics and questionable choices regarding inclusion and exclusion. Ralley begins by noting that ``magic was an accusation long before it was a practice'' (p. viii), introducing the idea that rather than a set of certain activities, ``magic'' in European history has more often been a (typically pejorative) label applied to a shifting body of practices in various historical societies. This history begins in antiquity, as the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft University of Pennsylvania Press

Magic: A Beginner's Guide (review)

Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft , Volume 7 (2) – Nov 10, 2012

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-pennsylvania-press/magic-a-beginner-s-guide-review-0A8LEfo6hA
Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
The University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1940-5111
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

robert ralley. Magic: A Beginner's Guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2010. Pp. xvi 176. Surveys of the history of magic (and of witchcraft, although this item is decidedly not one of the latter) are thick on the ground, so with each new book, one can fairly ask what new or different elements it offers. The greatest strength of this book is its conceptual breadth. Beyond the standard medieval and early modern history of European magic and its repression, it offers (relatively) lengthy treatment of magic in post-Enlightenment Europe, including coverage of two topics almost never found in more ``standard'' surveys-- stage magic and the modern academic treatment of magic. Covering so much ground in so short a space is a tall order, and the book's deficits inevitably stem from its constant compression of complicated topics and questionable choices regarding inclusion and exclusion. Ralley begins by noting that ``magic was an accusation long before it was a practice'' (p. viii), introducing the idea that rather than a set of certain activities, ``magic'' in European history has more often been a (typically pejorative) label applied to a shifting body of practices in various historical societies. This history begins in antiquity, as the

Journal

Magic, Ritual, and WitchcraftUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 10, 2012

There are no references for this article.