By Sir Walter Scott
In ailing healthiness following a stroke, Sir Walter Scott wrote Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft on the behest of his son-in-law, J. G. Lockhart, who labored for a publishing enterprise. The ebook proved well known and Scott used to be paid 600 kilos, which he desperately wanted. (Despite his good fortune as a novelist, Scott was once virtually ruined whilst the Ballantyne publishing enterprise, the place he used to be a associate, went bankrupt in 1826.) Letters was once written while informed society believed itself in enlightened occasions because of advances in smooth technological know-how. Letters, notwithstanding, printed that each one social sessions nonetheless held ideals in ghosts, witches, warlocks, fairies, elves, diabolism, the occult, or even werewolves. Sourcing from earlier 16th- and seventeenth-century treatises on demonology in addition to modern debts from England, Europe, and North the US (Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi, for one), Scott's discourses at the mental, non secular, actual, and preternatural motives for those ideals are crucial interpreting for acolytes of the darkish and macabre; the letters facing witch hunts, trials (Letters 8 and Nine), and torture are morbidly compelling. Scott used to be neither absolutely pro-rational modernity nor absolutely anti-superstitious previous, as his skepticism of 1 of the "new" sciences (skullology, as he calls it) is made transparent in a personal letter to a pal. therefore, Letters is either a private and highbrow exam of conflicting trust platforms, while renowned technology started to problem superstition in earnest.
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Extra info for Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft
Other heathen nations, whose creeds could not have directly contributed to the system of demonology, because their manners and even their very existence was unknown when it was adopted, were nevertheless involved, so soon as Europeans became acquainted with them, in the same charge of witchcraft and worship of demons brought by the Christians of the Middle Ages against the heathens of northern Europe and the Mahommedans of the East. We learn from the information of a Portuguese voyager that even the native Christians (called those of St.
Upon such a supposition the wild fiction that follows is probablygrounded; which, extravagant as it is, possesses something striking tothe imagination. Saxo Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norseprinces or chiefs, who had formed what was called a brotherhood in arms,implying not only the firmest friendship and constant support during allthe adventures which they should undertake in life, but binding them bya solemn compact, that after the death of either, the survivor shoulddescend alive into the sepulchre of his brother-in-arms, and consent tobe buried alongst with him.
Such, we learn from Cæsar, was the idea of tbe Germans concerning the Suevi, or Swabians, a tribe to whom the others yielded the palm of valour; and many individual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold champions, who had fought, not only with the sorcerers, but with the demigods of the system, and come off unharmed, if not victorious, in the contest. Hother, for example, encountered the god Thor in battle, as Diomede, in the Iliad, engages with Mars, and with like success. Bartholsine* gives us repeated examples of the same kind.
Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft by Sir Walter Scott