Invisible men

The historian and the male witch

in Male witches in early modern Europe

The exclusion of male witches from witchcraft historiography is the result of active processes and assumptions. More commonly, especially in surveys, male witches are mentioned once or twice and then forgotten, and witches are referred to subsequently as if they were exclusively female. E. William Monter provides a wealth of data about male witches, beginning with the fact that in this 'unremarkable province' close to 'the heart of northern and western Europe', men comprised the majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft. Monter's study of Normandy is exciting because it offers concrete evidence that early modern beliefs about witches were not necessarily sex-specific. Stuart Clark's interpretation of demonological views of gender and witchcraft offers the most striking instance of the invisibility of male witches. Demonological literature is a major source for the assumption that witch-hunting was primarily about persecuting women.

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