Authors: Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

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.

Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

As the previous chapter showed, the prevailing view in witchcraft studies is that male witches were rare exceptions to the rule and are less important and interesting, as historical subjects, than female witches. There is a kind of conventional historiographical wisdom about male witches, which may be summarised as follows: male witches were a) accused in small numbers; b) accused primarily because

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

witches doing in these demonological texts?’ and ‘Why doesn’t anyone talk about this?’ Not every single question that arises in the course of a research project can be answered, and this volume leaves certain issues essentially untouched. We have attempted, however, to address what we believe are the most fundamental questions. Chapter 1 tackled the first of these,namely,why male witches are not more

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
The historian and the male witch
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

causes of witch-hunting,and those scholars who resist feminist theories and interpretations. 6 The female witch has become a site for struggles over historical method and feminist politics, but there is very little room in the research agenda for the male witch,even though men comprised 20 to 25 per cent of the total number of executed witches. What work there is on male witches tends to be limited, for the most part,to enumeration

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

. Female and male witches Research is always most exciting when the data do not quite fit the established paradigms and explanatory models. An entire body of literature, mainly by avowed feminists,has argued that witch-hunting was in essence woman-hunting, despite the fact that many of those executed for the crime of witchcraft were men (see chapter 2 ).Various attempts have been made to explain away this feature of witch

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
The gendering of witchcraft
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

So far, we have concentrated on constructing the male witch as a valid historical subject. In this final chapter, we wish to change gear and attempt to answer the question of how early modern Europeans, specifically witchcraft theorists, made sense of male witches. Given that they generally associated witchcraft more strongly with women than with men, it seems at first rather odd that early modern

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Demonological descriptions of male witches
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

The previous chapters presented challenges to generalisations about male witches. The next two chapters follow a similar approach to conventional perspectives on the demonological treatment of witchcraft and gender. Through the examination of witchcraft theorists’ descriptions of male witches, we aim to show that, just as with the ‘real life’ cases, modern scholars’ views do not take sufficient

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Agency and selfhood at stake
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

specific to women, even if women have been foregrounded in studies relating to both concepts. We have seen that it was quite possible that a majority, even a large majority, of accused witches in a given region might be men. Ideas about male witches and accusations against them may have differed somewhat from those concerning women, but in general they were more alike than unlike. Therefore, we must apply questions regarding

in Male witches in early modern Europe
witchcraft in the western Netherlands, 1850–1925
Willem de Blécourt

boundary was occasionally crossed and a man was accused of having bewitched children, this was because witchcraft in his family was already defined in the female line. Male witchcraft was on the whole more about a display of power. Well-known male witches in Waterland, in the region of the river Zaan and in Hoorn (all in the province of North-Holland) were capable, so it was said, of immobilizing people and animals, and could perform tricks such as

in Witchcraft Continued
Gender and contemporary fantasies of witchcraft
Alison Rowlands

polar opposites,155 or because this way of thinking allowed them to curb the power of the mother and reassert the power of the father over the family, at least in fantasy. Male witches: ‘masculine’ witchcraft? As the fate of Mathes Leimbach in the 1652 Wettringen witch-trial reminds us, we must not forget that men could be accused of witchcraft and suffer as a result: they constituted 24 per cent of the overall total of witches tried in the Holy Roman Empire.156 The percentage of males involved in witch-trials in Rothenburg was, at 29.2 per cent, slightly higher than

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany