Art of the Grimoire - An Illustrated History of Magic Books and Spells - Owen Davies

Yale Press


Art of the Grimoire: An Illustrated History of Magic Books and Spells by Owen Davies / ISBN 9780300272017 / 256-page hardcover, 7.5 x 9.75 inches, illustrated throughout / Published by Yale


A copiously illustrated global history of magic books, from ancient papyri to pulp paperbacks

Grimoires, textbooks of magic and occult knowledge, have existed through the ages alongside other magic and religious texts in part because of the need to create a physical record of magical phenomena, but also to enact magic through spells and rituals. To understand the history of these texts is to understand the influence of the major religions, the development of early science, the cultural influence of print, the growth of literacy, the social impact of colonialism, and the expansion of esoteric cultures across the oceans.

In more than two hundred color illustrations from ancient times to the present, renowned scholar Owen Davies examines little-studied artistic qualities of grimoires, revealing a unique world of design and imagination. The book takes a global approach, considering Egyptian and Greek papyri, ancient Chinese bamboo scripts, South American pulp prints, and Japanese demon encyclopedias, among other examples.

This book will enchant readers interested in the history of magic and science, as well as in book and manuscript history.

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