Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top ten books on witch persecutions

James Morrow's books include The Philosopher's Apprentice and The Last Witchfinder.

In 2006 he named a top ten list of books on witch persecutions for the Guardian. One title on the list:
Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Krämer and James Sprenger

In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII, whose name must now be counted the paragon of misnomers, deputised two Dominican friars to go on a fact-finding mission throughout northern Europe, ferreting out evidence of Satanic compaction among ordinary citizens. Thus it was that Heinrich Krämer and James Sprenger became the Lewis and Clark of demonology, intrepid explorers trekking across the dark continent of Renaissance witch beliefs. Saturated with misogyny, the resulting tome, the notorious Hammer of Witches, reveals far more than any sane person would want to know about the detection, examination, and prosecution of suspected heretics. Edward Harrison said it better than I could: "The Malleus Maleficarum possesses a hypnotic power. The aghast and sickened reader, after returning from the nightmare universe of Krämer and Sprenger, will never again be quite the same person."
Read about another book on Morrow's list.

Visit James Morrow's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Philosopher’s Apprentice.

--Marshal Zeringue