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Magic: A Very Short Introduction

Owen Davies

January 2012

ISBN: 9780199588022

152 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

Magic continues to be an enduring topic of fascination, managing to pervade the popular imagination. In this Very Short Introduction Owen Davies explores the definitions and practice of magic over the millennia; highlighting the controversy, conflict, and debate it has caused.

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Description

Magic continues to be an enduring topic of fascination, managing to pervade the popular imagination. In this Very Short Introduction Owen Davies explores the definitions and practice of magic over the millennia; highlighting the controversy, conflict, and debate it has caused.

  • Magic is a topic of constant fasciation and interest which can described in various ways - supernatural, superstition, simple illusion, religious miracles, and fantasies of the imagination
  • Wide-ranging overview of how magic has been defined, understood, and practised
  • Highlights the controversy, conflict, and debate it has caused over the last two millennia
  • Considers how magic and science are intertwined
  • Split into two main sections: theory and practice
  • Part of the bestselling Very Short Introductions series - over three million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

Owen Davies, Professor of Social History, University of Hertfordshire

Owen Davies is Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written extensively on the history of magic, witchcraft, and ghosts, including Grimoires: A History of Magic Books (OUP, 2009), The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts (Palgrave, 2007), and Paganism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2011).

Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1:Anthropologies of magic
    2:Historical perspectives
    3:All in the mind?
    4:Writing magic
    5:Practising magic
    6:Magic and the modern world
    Conclusion

Reviews

"Davies explores an impressive range of topics including the basic terminology of magic, major theoretical approaches to the subject, the tradition of written magic, its use as a strategy for excluding others and defining ones own group, and the revival of magic in the context of contemporary paganism. ... The book is interspersed with a selection of photographs and illustrations, and it is well worth such a modest outlay." - Juliette Wood, Folklore