Publication Date: 06/01/2022 ISBN: 9781529034042 Category:

In Defence of Witches

Mona Chollet, Sophie R Lewis

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 06/01/2022 ISBN: 9781529034042 Category:


Out of stock


‘A thought-provoking, discursive survey by Mona Chollet, a bright light of Francophone feminism’ – The New York Times

‘Rousing . . . a very interesting take on contemporary feminist politics’ – Irish Times

A source of terror, a misogynistic image of woman inherited from the trials and the pyres of the great early modern witch hunts – in In Defence of Witches the witch is recast as a powerful role model to women today: an emblem of power, free to exist beyond the narrow limits society imposes on women.

Whether selling grimoires on Etsy, posting photos of their crystal-adorned altar on Instagram, or gathering to cast spells on Donald Trump, witches are everywhere. But who exactly were the forebears of these modern witches? Who was historically accused of witchcraft, often meeting violent ends? What types of women have been censored, eliminated, repressed, over the centuries?

Mona Chollet takes three archetypes from historic witch hunts, and examines how far women today have the same charges levelled against them: independent women; women who choose not to have children; and women who reject the idea that to age is a terrible thing. Finally, Chollet argues that by considering the lives of those who dared to live differently, we can learn more about the richness of roles available, just how many different things a woman can choose to be.

Translated from the French by Sophie R Lewis.

Publisher Review

Mona Chollet reminds us how an infamous label has become a symbol of women's resistance to male domination. * Le Monde * [Mona Chollet] rehabilitates the figure of the witch, this dangerously independent, educated and strong woman. * Slate * [Mona Chollet] dissects this figure from our history - and our imagination - and demonstrates how women today, those who free themselves from certain social norms, are in fact the direct heirs of those who were pursued, hunted, censored, eliminated during the Renaissance. * Huffington Post * The term "witches" is still used today to caricature women of power, aging women or quite simply free women . . . Mona Chollet wonders about what remains today of the great witch hunts, that is to say the massacre of tens of thousands of women in Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries . . . [She] ends up convincing: the witch is a figure more fascinating and empowering than repulsive. * Liberation * What remains of the witch hunts? A stubborn misogyny, which still tints the way our societies look at single women, childless women, aging women, or quite simply, free women . . . Today more than ever, witches tell us about our world and lead the way. * Telerama *

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