Wallace Notestein - A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to1718 (879.0 Kb)
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In its original form this essay was the dissertation submitted for a doctorate in philosophy conferred by Yale University in 1908. When first projected it was the writer's purpose to take up the subject of English witchcraft under certain general political and social aspects. It was not long, however, before he began to feel that preliminary to such a treatment there was necessary a chronological survey of the witch trials. Those strange and tragic affairs were so closely involved with the politics, literature, and life of t... More >>>
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In its original form this essay was the dissertation submitted for a doctorate in philosophy conferred by Yale University in 1908. When first projected it was the writer's purpose to take up the subject of English witchcraft under certain general political and social aspects. It was not long, however, before he began to feel that preliminary to such a treatment there was necessary a chronological survey of the witch trials. Those strange and tragic affairs were so closely involved with the politics, literature, and life of the seventeenth century that one is surprised to find how few of them have received accurate or complete record in history. It may be said, in fact, that few subjects have gathered about themselves so large concretions of misinformation as English witchcraft. This is largely, of course, because so little attention has been given to it by serious students of history. The mistakes and misunderstandings of contemporary writers and of the local historians have been handed down from county history to county history until many of them have crept into general works. For this reason it was determined to attempt a chronological treatment which would give a narrative history of the more significant trials along with some account of the progress of opinion. This plan has been adhered to somewhat strictly, sometimes not without regret upon the part of the writer. It is his hope later in a series of articles to deal with some of the more general phases of the subject, with such topics as the use of torture, the part of the physicians, the contagious nature of the witch alarms, the relation of Puritanism to persecution, the supposed influence of the Royal Society, the general causes for the gradual decline of the belief, and other like questions. It will be seen in the course of the narrative that some of these matters have been touched upon.
Wallace Notestein (1878-1969) was an American historian and Sterling Professor of English History at Yale University from 1928 to 1947.
Wallace Notestein (December 16, 1578-1969) was born in Wooster, Ohio; son of Jonas O, and Margaret (Wallace) Notestein. He married Ada Louise Comstock, June 14, 1943. He received his B. A. from Wooster in 1900 and his Ph. D. from Yale in 1908. In addition, he received honorary degrees from Wooster, Litt. D., 1923, Harvard 1939, Birmingham 1950, Yale 1951, Oxford 1958, and Glasgow, LL., D., 1950. Notestein was assistant professor of history, University of Kansas, 1905-1907; instructor of history, University of Minnesota, 1908; assistant professor, 1910, associate professor, 1914, professor, 1917-1920; professor of English History, Cornell, 1920-1928; Sterling Professor English History, Yale, 1928-1947, emeritus, 1947-; Eastman Professor Oxford University, 1949-1950; fellow Balliol College, 1949-1950; Research Assistant, Committee on Public Information, 1917; attached to State Department, 1918, American Commission to Negotiate Peace, Paris, 1919; member of British Commission appointed by Prime Minister, House of Commons Records, 1929-1932; member of Advisory Council, Guggenheim Foundation, 1939-1948; Corresponding Fellow, British Academy; member of the American Philosophical Society, Massachusetts Historical Society, Phi Gamma Delta. Notestein was a member of the Century Club (NYC) and the Athenaeum (London). Known as a gifted writer and an authority on English life and government of the 17th century, Notestein produced the following books:
- History of English Witchcraft, 1913
- Source Problems in English History, 1915 (with A. B. White)
- Commons Debates, 1629-1921 (with Frances H. Relf)
- D'Ewes Journal of the Long Parliament, 1923
- Winning of the Initiative by the House of Commons (Raleigh lecture, British Academy), 1924
- Commons Debates 1621, 7 vols., 1935 (with F. H. Relf, H. Simpson)
- English Folk, 1938
- The Scot in History, 1946
- The English People on the Eve of Colonization, 1954
- Four Worthies, 1956