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Deadly Words
Witchcraft in the Bocage


  • Date Published: December 1980
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521297875

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • 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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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 1980
    • 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
    2. Speaking
    3. Touching
    4. Looking
    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

  • Author

    Jeanne Favret-Saada

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