The Decline of Magic

The Decline of Magic Britain in the Enlightenment

Hardback (03 Jan 2020) | English

  • $32.24
Add to basket

Includes delivery to USA

10+ copies available online - Usually dispatched within 7 days

Other formats/editions

Synopsis

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.

About the Publisher

Yale University Press

Yale University Press

By publishing serious works that contribute to a global understanding of human affairs, Yale University Press aids in the discovery and dissemination of light and truth, lux et veritas, which is a central purpose of Yale University. The publications of the Press are books and other materials that further scholarly investigation, advance interdisciplinary inquiry, stimulate public debate, educate both within and outside the classroom, and enhance cultural life. In its commitment to increasing the range and vigor of intellectual pursuits within the university and elsewhere, Yale University Press continually extends its horizons to embody university publishing at its best.

Book information

ISBN: 9780300243581
Publisher: Yale University Press
Imprint: Yale University Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 130.941
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 8198
Number of pages: xi, 243 , 8 unnumbered of plates
Weight: 594g
Height: 165mm
Width: 242mm
Spine width: 23mm