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A Narratological Approach to Witchcraft Trial: A Scottish Case 1

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[Abstract This article is a microstudy of a Scottish witchcraft document from 1662, focusing of the case of a woman accused of witchcraft in Bute. It emphasizes the various “voices” that are possible to “hear” in the material—for example, the voice of the scribe, the witnesses, or the accused person. It argues on linguistic grounds that the way the story was told by the scribe influences the interpretation of this document, since the scribe had the authority over the contents of the text. This narratological analysis is finally put in a broader historical context, adding factual information about the woman accused of witchcraft and her final fate. Methodologically, this article crosses the border between literature and history, working in a new way with regard to interpretation of historical documents and is an empirical example of the fruitfulness of cross-cultural studies., Abstract This article is a microstudy of a Scottish witchcraft document from 1662, focusing of the case of a woman accused of witchcraft in Bute. It emphasizes the various “voices” that are possible to “hear” in the material—for example, the voice of the scribe, the witnesses, or the accused person. It argues on linguistic grounds that the way the story was told by the scribe influences the interpretation of this document, since the scribe had the authority over the contents of the text. This narratological analysis is finally put in a broader historical context, adding factual information about the woman accused of witchcraft and her final fate. Methodologically, this article crosses the border between literature and history, working in a new way with regard to interpretation of historical documents and is an empirical example of the fruitfulness of cross-cultural studies.]

Affiliations: 1: University of Tromsø

10.1163/157006511X600837
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006511x600837
2011-01-01
2016-12-08

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