Grimoires - A History of Magic Books - Owen Davies

Oxford University Press


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Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies / ISBN 9780199590049 / 368-page paperback published by Oxford


No books have been more feared than grimoires, and no books have been more valued and revered. In Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, Owen Davies illuminates the many fascinating forms these recondite books have taken and exactly what these books held. At their most benign, these repositories of forbidden knowledge revealed how to make powerful talismans and protective amulets, and provided charms and conjurations for healing illness, finding love, and warding off evil. But other books promised the power to control innocent victims, even to call up the devil. Davies traces the history of this remarkably resilient and adaptable genre, from the ancient Middle East to modern America, offering a new perspective on the fundamental developments of western civilization over the past two thousand years. Grimoires shows the influence magic and magical writing has had on the cultures of the world, richly demonstrating the role they have played in the spread of Christianity, the growth of literacy, and the influence of western traditions from colonial times to the present.

"An amazing achievement, not just for its depth of research but its breadth, from Massachusetts to Martinique to Mauritius. It must become the classic work on the subject."--Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft

"Excellent and nuanced."--History Today

"A sweeping, fascinating history....Highly recommended."--Choice

"Among the many pleasures of reading Davies' book is the simple, shiver-producing enjoyment of scanning the rich, ominous-sounding titles that he catalogs in the course of charting their historical development."--Los Angeles Times

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