In 1997, Stuart Clark published the first monograph since the time of Jules Michelet to focus on pre-modern ideas about witches. The language of belief in witchcraft studies betrays an anachronistic, modernist and dismissive approach to a mental universe quite different from our own. This book makes the male witch visible, to construct him as a historical subject, as a first step toward a deeper understanding of the functions and role of gender in pre-modern European witch-hunting and ideas about witches. The overtly political dimension to the study of witches in early modern Europe demands a high level of consciousness and reflexivity regarding language, representation, and meaning. William Monter provides a wealth of data about male witches, in an 'unremarkable province' close to 'the heart of northern and western Europe'. Here, men comprised the majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft. The book examines cases in which men were accused of witchcraft. The examples are drawn from several different regions, in order to test conventional generalisations about male witches. The agency theory posits that actors always have choices; 'agent-centred' morality proposes a novel twist on both traditional Kantian internalist categories. The problems of both male and female witches' agency and selfhood are discussed. The book also presents data compiled from ten canonical works, and a brief discussion of demonological illustrations. Finally, it addresses the question of what it means to label a man as a witch within a framework that explicitly and implicitly feminised witchcraft.
‘canon’ includes Jean Bodin’s De la demonomanie des
sorciers , Johannes Nider’s Formicarius , and the Malleus
maleficarum , which occupies pride of place within the literature as
possibly the most (in)famous treatise of them all. In this chapter, we
present data compiled from ten of these canonical works, as well as a brief
discussion of demonologicalillustrations.
Demonological literature has received relatively little
demonological texts that show early modern authors using masculine
terminology to describe witches in general and speaking directly about male
witches. We also discussed demonologicalillustrations depicting male
witches. This evidence establishes conclusively that there was no conceptual
barrier to male witches in any period of the witch-hunting era. We addressed
the issue of textual variation, and concluded