Gender and the body of the early modern witch
The early modern persecution of the witch reflects both local and broad cultural and social features; it lends itself to an interdisciplinary framework. Lyndal Roper supplies an analysis that is both social history and psychological; Heinsohn and Steiger offer the economic background in conjunction with a textual interpretation; Dorinda Neave contributes visual evidence; Diane Purkiss makes a feminist contribution through critical readings; Gail Kern Paster demonstrates that representations emerged in drama, literary, scientific, and demonological treatments. As such, the body of the female witch emerges as a composition which reflects broad trends as well as local particularities. The witch hunt was based on the supernatural, a system of beliefs that cannot be substantiated through recourse to a rational world. One of the ways that it can be understood is through representations of the witch's body and readings that focus on the psychic realm of fantasy, fear, and eroticism.
0581: Middle Ages
0453: Womens studies