Life Update, A Chapter on Early Modern Grimoires

Picture of a late fall walk

I’m still alive. I’ve been immersed in revisions to The Book of Four Wizards, along with one or two other projects that have prevented me from getting back to Papers for a while.

One piece of feedback was that I should not rely on Of Angels to describe the late seventeenth-century milieu of our first author. I’m dipping back into the literature and records of that time, which is somewhat scanty, to see if I can learn anything new that I can share with you when the book is published.

I finally tracked down Owen Davies’ chapter “Narratives of the Witch, the Magician, and the Devil in Early Modern Grimoires.” I think it’s a mixed bag, although someone who had less familiarity with grimoire literature would probably find it more valuable. I appreciated his analysis of the Faust tradition and the corresponding late appearance of the written pact in grimoires. (I also wish I’d found out that a couple of witch trial pamphlets are believed to be entirely fictitious before I put them in my witch bottle book! So it goes.)

On the other hand, Davies also mentions that books of magic of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries don’t recognize the existence of witches… and as the editor of three such books, I can confirm that they do. They’re never a matter of primary importance, but there’s a good number of them in the British tradition.

The usual games proceed apace. There’s been some talk about a new edition of Pendragon, with design diaries on honor and glory, among other topics. I intend to pick it up, but I haven’t seen anything so compelling that I wish to adopt it wholesale. Perhaps future updates will change my mind.

I also heard that some other roleplaying game is getting a new edition. I hope people enjoy it.

That’s all for now. I’ll get back to the review cycle when I can.

Published in: on January 21, 2022 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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