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Cunning Folk

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Original price $29.99 - Original price $29.99
Original price
$29.99
$29.99 - $29.99
Current price $29.99

Life in the Era of Practical Magic

A spritely and deeply researched history of magical problem-solving in a distant, unsettled, and strangely familiar time.

Imagine: it's 1600, and you've lost your keys. You've scoured your house. They're nowhere to be found. What do you do? In medieval and early modern Europe, the first port of call might very well have been cunning folk: practitioners of "service magic." Neither feared (like witches), nor venerated (like saints), cunning folk were essential to everyday life, a ubiquitous presence in a time when the supernatural was surprisingly mundane. For people young and old, male and female, highborn and low, practical magic was a cherished resource with which to navigate life's many challenges, from recovering stolen linens to seizing the throne, and everything in between. In historian Tabitha Stanmore's beguiling account, we meet lovelorn widows and dissolute nobles, selfless healers and renegade monks. We listen in on Queen Elizabeth I's astrology readings and track treasure hunters trying to unearth buried gold without upsetting the fairies that guard it. Much like us, premodern people lived in bewildering times, buffeted by forces beyond their control. Their anxieties are instantly recognizable, and as Stanmore reveals, their faith in magic has much to teach us about how we accommodate ourselves to the irrational in our allegedly enlightened lives today.

Charming in every sense of the word, Cunning Folk is an immersive reconstruction of a bygone world, and a thought-provoking commentary on the beauty and bafflement of being human.

Condition: New

ISBN-13: 9781639730537

ISBN-10: 1639730532

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