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Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture #73: Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692by Bernard Rosenthal
Synopses & Reviews
Salem Story engages the story of the Salem witch trials through an analysis of the surviving primary documentation and juxtaposes that against the way in which our culture has mythologized the events of 1692. Salem Story examines a variety of individual motives that converged to precipitate the witch hunt. The book also examines subsequent mythologies that emerged from the events of 1692. Of the many assumptions about the Salem Witch Trials, the most persistent one remains that they were precipitated by a circle of hysterical girls. Through an analysis of what actually happened, through reading the primary material, the emerging story shows a different picture, one where "hysteria" inappropriately describes the events and where accusing males as well as females participated in strategies of accusation and confession that followed a logical, rational pattern.
This book provides an engaging re-examination of the Salem witch trials of 1692.
Salem Story engages the story of the Salem witch trials by contrasting an analysis of the surviving primary documentation with the way events of 1692 have been mythologised by our culture. Rosenthal paints a picture of Salem where healthy accusers use rational strategies, and are not at all the hysterical creatures of popular myth.
The most persistent assumption about the Salem witch trials remains that they were precipitated by a circle of hysterical girls. This study examines a variety of individual motives that converged to cause the witch hunt as well as the subsequent mythologies that emerged from it.
Table of Contents
1. Dark Eve; 2. The girls of Salem; 3. Boys and girls together; 4. June 10, 1692; 5. July 19, 1692; 6. August 19, 1692; 7. George Burroughs and the Mathers; 8. September 22, 1692; 9. Assessing an inextricable storm; 10. Salem story.
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