Throughout history the figure of the witch has embodied both male nightmare and female fantasy. While early modern women used belief and ritual to express and manage powerful feelings, the symbols and images surrounding the witch in the New World largely distorted the European views of Native American religions. In our own era, groups as diverse as women writers, academic historians and radical feminists have found in the witch a figure who justifies and defines their own identities. And there are many in the 1990s who still call themselves witches. From colonial narratives to court records and from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, "The Witch in History" shows how the witch has acted and continues to embody the fears, desires and fantasies of women and men.
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