9781612481654

Being Bewitched: A True Tale of Madness, Witchcraft, and Property Development Gone Wrong

Kirsten C. Uszkalo

$39.99$50.00

In 1622, thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Jennings fell strangely ill. After doctors’ treatments proved useless, her family began to suspect the child had been bewitched, a suspicion that was confirmed when Elizabeth accused their neighbor Margaret Russell of witchcraft. In the events that followed, witchcraft hysteria intertwines with family rivalries, property disputes, and a web of supernatural beliefs. (EMS 20)

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Early Modern Series, Vol. 20

In 1622, thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Jennings fell strangely ill. After doctors’ treatments proved useless, her family began to suspect the child had been bewitched, a suspicion that was confirmed when Elizabeth accused their neighbor Margaret Russell of witchcraft. In the events that followed, witchcraft hysteria intertwines with family rivalries, property disputes, and a web of supernatural beliefs.

Starting from a manuscript account of the bewitchment, Kristen Uszkalo sets the story of Elizabeth Jennings against both the specific circumstances of the powerful Jennings family and the broader history of witchcraft in early modern England. Fitting together the intricate pieces of this complex puzzle, Uszkalo reveals a story that encompasses the iron grip of superstition, the struggle among professionalizing medical specialties, and London’s lawless and unstoppable sprawl. In the picture that emerges, we see the young Elizabeth, pinned like a live butterfly at the dark center of a web of greed and corruption, sickness and lunacy.

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Authors

Kirsten C. Uszkalo is a specialist in seventeenth-century literature, early modern cultural studies, and women's writing. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles on witchcraft, possession, and digital culture. She is the lead of the Witches in Early Modern England Project and the founding editor of Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies in the Preternatural (Penn State Press). Her first book, Bewitched and Bedeviled (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) uses cognitive science and neuroscience to understand possession phenomenon in early modern England. She is currently teaching digital humanities at Athabasca University.

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