Cunning folk

Tabitha Stanmore

£20.00

In stock

Imagine it’s the year 1500 and you’ve lost your precious silver spoons – or perhaps your neighbour has stolen them. Or maybe your child has a fever. Or you’re facing trial. Or you’re looking for a lover. Or you’re hoping to escape a husband. At a time when nature’s inner workings were largely a mystery, people from every walk of life – kings, clergy and commonfolk – who faced problems or circumstances they were powerless to control sought the help of ‘cunning folk’. These wise women and men were often renowned for their skill at healing the sick or predicting the future, fortune-telling and divination, and for their knowledge of spells and potions. Occasionally and tragically, some were condemned as witches for using their powers for ill. In Stanmore’s richly peopled and highly entertaining history, we see how this practical or ‘service’ magic was used and why people put their faith in it.

ISBN: 9781847927316 Category:

Description

‘A brilliant book, written with wit and vigour’ MALCOLM GASKILL
‘Absolutely fascinating’ IAN MORTIMER

Tabitha Stanmore transports us to a time when magic was used to navigate life’s challenges and solve problems of both trivial and deadly importance.

It’s 1600 and you’ve lost your precious silver spoons, or maybe they’ve been stolen. Perhaps your child has a fever. Or you’re facing trial. Maybe you’re looking for love or escaping a husband. What do you do?

In medieval and early modern Europe, your first port of call might have been cunning folk: practitioners of ‘service magic’. Neither feared (like witches), nor venerated (like saints), these people were essential: a ubiquitous presence at a time when the supernatural was surprisingly mundane and a cherished everyday resource.

We meet lovelorn widows, selfless healers and renegade monks; we listen in on Queen Elizabeth I’s astrology readings and track treasure hunters who try to keep peace with fairies. Much like us, premodern people lived in bewildering times, buffeted by forces beyond their control – and their faith in magic has much to teach us about how we accommodate ourselves to the irrational in our allegedly enlightened lives today.

Charming in every sense of the word, Cunning Folk is an immersive reconstruction of a bygone world and a thought-provoking commentary on the beauty and bafflement of being human.

Additional information

Weight 0.484 kg
Dimensions 24.2 × 16.1 × 2.6 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Hardback

Pages

304

Language

English

Edition
Dewey

133.43094 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to the Jaffé & Neale newsletters to receive updates on forthcoming titles we’re excited about, book club information and book signing events at the store.