EPQ Links/ Bibliography

  1. Transforming Medusa (http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/amaltea/revista/num3/currie.pdf)
  2. The Trial of Woman: Feminism and the Occult Sciences in Victorian Britain (http://www.palgraveconnect.com/pc/doifinder/view/10.1057/9780230374010)
  3. Pendle Witches (The Lancashire witches by William Harrison Ainsworth, Blake Morrison collection of 1996 poems ‘Pendle Witches’, Simon Armitage 2011 documentary, ‘The Pendle Witch Child’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv-jdufadiw)
  4. Bedlam and Broomsticks: Representations of the Witch in 19th and 20th century women’s writing (http://orca.cf.ac.uk/54301/1/u584115.pdf)
  5. Representations of witches in popular literature in England, 1566-1645(https://archive.org/stream/representationso00kuci/representationso00kuci_djvu.txt)
  6. The Lancashire witches: histories and stories
  7. Crafting the Witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England
    (http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/826)…Heidi Breuer’s approach is to focus on the gendered nature of magic in medieval and early modern literature. Magic, in these texts, is done by both men and women but how, Breuer asks, does the presentation of men’s and women’s magic differ? She argues that presentations of magic and magicians tend towards moral extremes: ‘magic-users are saviours or they are villains, saints or devils’, so what, she asks, is the role of gender in this process of polarization? Overall, she argues that what can be seen in medieval and early modern literature is a gradual ‘villainization of feminine magic’.


  8. Fantasies of gender and the witch in feminist theory and literature
  9. Screaming, flying, and laughing: magical feminism’s witches in contemporary film, television, and novels
    This project argues that there is a previously unnamed canon of literature called
    Magical feminism which exists across many current popular (even lowbrow) genres
    Such as science-fiction, fantasy, so-called realistic literature, and contemporary
    Television and film. I define magical feminism as a genre quite similar to magical
    Realism, but assert that its main political thrust is to model a feminist agency for its
    Readers. To define this genre, I closely-read the image of the female magic user as one
    Of the most important magical feminist metaphors. I argue that the female magic
    User–commonly called the witch, but also labeled priestess, mistress, shaman, mambo,
    Healer, midwife– is a metaphor for female unruliness and disruption to patriarchy and
    As such, is usually portrayed as evil and deserving of punishment. I assert that many
    (although not all) of the popular texts this genre includes are overlooked or ignored by
    the academy, and thus, that an important focus for contemporary feminism is missed.
    When the texts are noticed by parts of the academy, they are mostly considered popular
    Culture novelty acts, not serious political genres. As part of my argument, i analyze
    third wave feminism’s attempt to reconcile traits previously considered less than
    feminist, such as the domestic. I also deconstruct the popular media’s negative
    portrayal of contemporary feminism and the resulting reluctance for many young
    women to identify themselves as feminist. I also argue that this reluctance goes hand in
    hand with a growing attempt to seek new models for empowering female
    epistemologies. My assertion is that these texts are the classrooms where many readers
    learn their feminism.
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/magical_feminism
  11. Isabel Allende ‘the house of the spirits’
  12. Gloria Naylor, ‘mama day’
  13. Jeanette Winterson ‘the passion’
    Kimberley wells claims that the most important feature of this genre is the presence of a female magic user, most commonly a witch or a shamaness, metaphorically representing the female protest against the male-dominated world order and an act of independence. 
  14. Feminist witchcraft: podcast
  15. Introducing thealogy: discourse on the goddess
  16. Matilda Joslyn Gage: a nineteenth-century women’s rights historian looks at witchcraft.
  17. Wicca, witchcraft and the goddess revival: an examination of the growth of wicca in post-war america
  18. Witchcraft and women: a historiography of witchcraft as gender history
  19. Women writers and the occult in literature and culture: female lucifers, priestesses, and witches
  20. The witch report
  21. Feminist interpretations of the early modern witch trials
  22. Magical feminism
  23. Why witches are feminist icons (?)
  24. The spiral dance: a rebirth of the ancient religion of the great goddess
    “to reclaim the word witch is to reclaim our right, as women, to be powerful. To be a witch is to identify with 9 million victims of bigotry and hatred and to take responsibility for shaping a world in which prejudice claims no more victims.”
  25. The New Forest coven
  26. The embodied goddess: feminist witchcraft and female divinity
  27. King Arthur’s Enchantresses: Morgan and Her Sisters in Arthurian Tradition
    Carolyne Larrington. Whether they be chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, benevolent or filled with hatred, the enchantresses represent a strain of femininity which continually challenges male chivalric values from within. These women are survivors. They outlive the collapse of Camelot and all it stands for. And it is as archetypal manifestations of the feared, uncontainable Other that they continue to inspire admiration, fright and fascination in equal measure.http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199578160.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199578160-e-1                                                                                     The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America
  28. http://www.articlemyriad.com/feminist-analysis-prologue-wife-bath/
  29. http://www.academia.edu/657084/Geoffrey_Chaucer_Feminist_Or_Not
  30. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3188570?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  31. file://fshomes2/homes$/15STUARTV/Downloads/Wilma%20Karssen_4006275_BAThesisWitchcraft_in_Chaucer’s_Friar’s_Tale.pdf
  32. http://scholarship.shu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1731&context=dissertations

Initial Ideas


My initial idea was to research the representation of witches and mythological women throughout literature. How do these representations differ between male and female writers? Contrastingly, I’d like to look into contemporary effects of these representations, and whether the same idea of the witch has changed over time. Is it still used as a derogatory term with misogynistic connotations, or is the idea of the ‘modern witch’ being reclaimed?

I’d like to begin my research by reading about the history of witchcraft in the origins of classic literature, mythology and characters such as Medusa and Sirens. It would also be interesting to look into the male writing of the 19th/ early 20th century and the idealised feminine traits associated with nature, the occult and Wicca. In contrast to this, I’d compare them to texts of women writers of the same time period and how they develop over time, beginning with texts produced in the second half of the nineteenth century, when witchcraft was re-defined as hysteria, demonstrating the continuing and shifting significance of the witch in women’s writing. It seems to me that women writers of every era and political stance, in texts of almost every genre, replicate images of the witch, suggesting a unique bond between the two. I’d consider questions such as: To what extent does the witch alter or decline in significance for women writers as the period of study progresses? Does she exist for Christianity or does she form part of a (fantasy) rejection of it? How do ideologies of gender, sexuality and race inform representations? How do conventional ideas of the witch affect women’s writing? Does this qualify the relationship between witchcraft and the women writer? Are witches the monsters or the victims? And are witches feminist icons?

I’d like to look into the contemporary effects of these representations, and how the idea of the witch has changed over time e.g. how the witch has been both a victim and a victor throughout history, but is only now being reclaimed by women due to the rejection of the virgin/ whore dichotomy that society places upon them. How is this influenced by or reflected in modern literature, social ideology and media texts such as music, celebrity culture, film and television. Why is Medusa still depicted as a monster and not a victim?

I’d need to adapt and develop these ideas, perhaps limiting the texts I research being based in a specific time period or country, such as writing of a specific time period or geographic location.