Doctor Faustus

Learned necromancers and lascivious witches: magic and misogyny through the ages

Curses, conjurations, magic circles, incantations, abracadabra, gobbledygook… Why would any serious historian want to write a history of magic books?  Owen Davies issues a robust defence: magic is as old as human history, while a study of grimoires is a study of the book itself and its changing format over time. Through the lens of the grimoire (a book of magic spells and invocations), the parallel histories of religion and science are shown in an eerie new light. Perennial human desires, anxieties and aspirations for love, money and protection from harm bring people of the far past close to anyone today who reads a newspaper horoscope or consults the Tarot.