The Decline of Magic Britain in the Enlightenment Michael Hunter

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
ISBN:
9780300243581
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
288 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
19 b-w illus.

A provocative account of the seismic shift in attitude toward the supernatural in seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain

Early modern Britain embraced many forms of the supernatural and took the absolute existence of a spiritual world for granted. Yet in the eighteenth century these certainties were swept away. In this ground-breaking account, Michael Hunter argues that the real pioneers in skepticism about magic were humanists and free-thinkers. However, their critical attitude toward religion meant that their views were often dismissed. Hunter reveals just how divided opinion remained and how magic was never properly tested in the Enlightenment.

Michael Hunter is emeritus professor of history, Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of numerous works on early modern science and culture such as The Occult Laboratory and the award-winning Boyle: Between God and Science.