|aMagic :|ba very short introduction /|cOwen Davies.
|aOxford ;|aNew York :|bOxford University Press,|c2012.
|a135 p. :|bill. ;|c18 cm.
|aVery short introductions ;|v299
|aIncludes bibliographical references (p. 114-130) and index.
|aIntroduction; 1. Anthropologies of magic; 2. Historical perspectives; 3. All in the mind?; 4. Writing magic; 5. Practising magic; 6. Magic and the modern world; Conclusion.
|aA wide-ranging overview of how magic has been defined, understood and practiced over the millennia introduces it in today's world as a real force that helps people overcome misfortune, poverty and illness.
Magic is a much-used term with a complex and controversial history. As a concept and a practice, it has attracted the attention of theologians, anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, artists, and historians over the centuries. This Very Short Introduction explains why. Magic has been defined in terms of the false religions of others, as an evolutionary stage in human thought, a universal state of mind, and a liberating expression of the imagination. For hundreds of millions of people today, no matter their religious persuasion, magic is a real force that helps them to overcome misfortune, poverty, and illness. Indeed, with magic as relevant today as it ever was, it raises questions about the meaning of human progress.
Owen Davies is Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written extensively on the history of magic, witchcraft, and ghosts, including Grimoires: A History of Magic Books.