New Books Network

Paul Moyer

Detestable and Wicked Arts

New England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Cornell University Press 2020

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & Faith August 28, 2020 Julia Gossard

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” These famous lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth elicit popular images of sinister witches over their...

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” These famous lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth elicit popular images of sinister witches over their cauldrons, boiling evil potions. Today on New Books in History we’re talking with Paul Moyer, author of Detestable and Wicked Arts: New England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Cornell University Press), which places New England’s battle against black magic in a transatlantic perspective.

In this accessible and comprehensive study of witch prosecutions in the Puritan colonies, Moyer explores how English colonists understood the crime of witchcraft, why some people ran a greater risk of being accused of occult misdeeds, and how gender intersected with witch-hunting.

Paul Moyer received a BA from Bowdoin College in 1992 and earned his PhD in History from the College of William and Mary in 1999. He has taught at the University of Central Arkansas and the College of William and Mary as a Visiting Assistant Professor and is currently a Professor of History at SUNY Brockport. He is the author of several books including Wild Yankees: The Struggle for Independence along Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Frontier (2007) and The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America (2015) both by Cornell University Press.


Dr. Julia Gossard is Assistant Professor of History at Utah State University.