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THE DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT. Being a Reprint - SCOT, Reginald - 1886. 
London: Elliot Stock, 1886.. New Edition. Half-Leather. Fine. A New edition, reprinting the First Edition of 1584, but also including the nine new chapters and the added second book "The Discourse on Devils and Spirits" from the edition of 1665. Quarto, bound in waxed half brown calf over marbled boards, the spine with raised bands and elaborately decorated in gilt, red leather spine label titled in gilt, top edges gilt. Issued in a small edition of just 250 copies, with a list of Subscribers at the front. [xlviii] + [xl] +  +  pp ads at rear. With reproductions of the title-pages of the editions of 1584, 1651, and 1665. From the library of Edward L. Margetts, M.D., with his name in ink on the half-title leaf, noting that it was bought from Blackwell's in Oxford on 16 March, 1953.; plus two earlier ink names - "R. McLintock, Liverpool, 1888", and "H.U. Routh, 21 York Buildings, Adelphi WC.2". Margetts has made light pencil marks and a few pencil annotations in the margins throughout the text, as was his way. Tiny worm-hole to title and half-title leaf. A very good, sound copy in a fine modern binding. A rare book: Montague Summers mentions this edition in the Preface to the 1930 John Rodker edition, stating at the time that "this edition is not easily to be procured". A Classic work, first published in 1584 and intended as an exposÃ© of medieval witchcraft. Scot set himself to prove that the belief in witchcraft and magic was rejected by reason and by religion, and that spiritualistic manifestations were wilful impostures or illusions due to mental disturbance in the observers. His aim was to prevent the persecution of poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches. The maintenance of the superstition he blamed largely on the Roman Catholic Church, and he attacked writers including Jean Bodin (1530?1596), author of DÃ©monomie des Sorciers (Paris, 1580), and Jacobus Sprenger, supposed joint author of Malleus Maleficarum (Nuremberg, 1494). Of Cornelius Agrippa and Johann Weyer, author of De PrÃ¦stigiis Demonum (Basle, 1566), whose views he adopted, he spoke with respect. Scot did adopt contemporary superstition, in his references to medicine and astrology. He believed in the medicinal value of the unicorn's horn, and thought that precious stones owed their origin to the influence of the heavenly bodies. The book also narrates stories of strange phenomena in the context of religious convictions. The devil is related with such stories and his ability to absorb people's souls. The book also gives stories of magicians with supernatural powers performing in front of courts of kings. His volume became an exhaustive encyclopÃ¦dia of contemporary beliefs about witchcraft, spirits, alchemy, magic, and legerdemain, as well as attracting widespread attention to his scepticism on witchcraft. William Shakespeare drew from his study of Scot's book hints for his picture of the witches in Macbeth, and Thomas Middleton in his play of The Witch likewise was indebted to this source. Through bibliographies, one may trace modern grimoires to this work. The chapter on magic tricks in Scot's Discoverie was later plagiarized heavily; it was the basis of The Art of Juggling (1612) by S. R., and Hocus Pocus Junior (1634). Scot's early writings constituted a substantial portion (in some cases, nearly all) of the text in English-language stage magic books of the 17th and 18th centuries. Popular belief has long held that all obtainable copies of the 1584 edition were burned by King James VI and I, author of DÃ¦monologie (1597), a work which refutes the writings of both Scot and Weyer. In 1651 the book was twice reissued in London in quarto by Richard Cotes; the two issues differ slightly in the imprint on the title page. Another reissue was dated 1654. A third edition in folio, dated 1665, included nine new chapters, and added a second book to "The Discourse on Devils and Spirits". This 1886 edition, edited by Brinsley Nicholson, is a reprint of the first edition of 1584, with the additions of that of 1665.
[Bookseller: Thompson Rare Books]
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