- Paperback: 556 pages
- Publisher: Avalonia; 1st edition (July 11, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781905297689
- ISBN-13: 978-1905297689
- ASIN: 1905297688
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cunning Man's Handbook: The Practice of English Folk Magic, 1550-1900 Paperback – July 11, 2014
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Probably the most in depth and well researched study I have yet encountered dealing with cunning lore - the magic practiced by village sorcerers and sorceresses as contrasted to the theurgy and necromancy of clerics and scholars. The author, a self confessed historian from the groves of academe, applies a searching scholarly eye but happily uses layman's language to examine all aspects of the cunning craft derived from multiple documented sources. Aside from exhaustively detailing many of the spells and charms employed by cunning folk Baker also tackles deeper matters such as what exactly the cunning man or woman and their clients believed enabled the magic to work, the principles behind the practice, and how indeed these principles changed over the decades and centuries. This takes Baker into the thorny area of theology, but he handles it adeptly and more to the point, intelligibly, even when trying to nail down the subtle but most important and indeed much debated difference between a person's soul and his or her spirit.
The fact that Baker reproduces magical praxes in their entirety and not in snippets accounts for the tome like heft of the book and also its rather steep price, but if you can afford it this is definitely one book that belongs on the shelf of both scholar and magical practitioner. Very highly recommended.
Well worth your time.