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This 1980 book examines witchcraft beliefs and experiences in the Bocage, a rural area of western France. It also introduced a powerful theoretical attitude towards the progress of the ethnographer's enquiries, suggesting that a full knowledge of witchcraft involves being 'caught up' in it oneself. In the Bocage, being bewitched is to be 'caught' in a sequence of misfortunes. According to those who are bewitched, the culprit is someone in the neighbourhood: the witch, who can cast a spell with a word, a touch or a look, and whose 'power' comes from a book of spells inherited from an ancestor. Only a professional magician, an 'unwitcher', has any chance of breaking the succession of misfortunes which befall those who have been bewitched. He undertakes a battle of magic with the suspected witch, a battle which is eventually fatal.
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- Date Published: January 1981
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521297875
- length: 284 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 153 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. There Must Be a Subject
Section 1. The Way Things Are Said:
1. The mirror-image of an academic
2. Words spoken with insistence
3. When words wage war
Section 2. Between 'Caught' and Catching:
1. Those who haven't been caught can't talk about it
2. A name added to a position
3. Taking one's distances from whom (or what)?
Section 3. When the Text Has its Own Foreword
Part II. The Realm of Secrecy
Section 4. Someone Must Be Credulous
Section 5. Tempted By the Impossible
Section 6. The Less One Talks, The Less One Is Caught
Part III. Telling It All
Section 7. If You Could Do Something:
1. A bewitched in hospital
2. She a magician?
3. The misunderstanding
4. Impotent against impotence
Section 8. The Omnipotent Witch:
1. The imperishable bastard
5. A death at the crossroads
6. Ex post facto
Section 9. Taking Over:
1. Inexplicable misfortunes
2. The other witch
Section 10. To Return Evil for Evil:
1. Madame Marie from Alençon
2. Madame Marie from Izé
3. If you feel capable
Section 11. Mid-way Speculations:
1. Concepts and presuppositions
2. Attack by witchcraft and its warding off
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