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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book Magic, Body and the Self in Eighteenth-Century Sweden. The book addresses a number of significant new problems posed in modern witchcraft scholarship. Building on the work of historians who have provided us with the first systematic overview of eighteenth-century European studies and the work by Davies and Blécourt , which addresses eighteenth-century witchcraft for the first time in a comprehensive collection of essays, the book provides regional in-depth analysis of post-witch hunt Swedish magic. The book also suggests that the study of ambiguity deserves more scholarly attention and that the multivalent meanings of magical practice reflect, and indeed enable, shifting social alliances in close-knit societies. It explores the specific experience of selfhood in magical practices and argues that early modern Swedish popular religion placed the self firmly at the centre of magic and regarded the self as interconnected with the community.

Keywords: eighteenth-century Sweden; eighteenth-century witchcraft; magical practice; selfhood



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