Cat Massacre and Witchcraft

Both the “The Great Cat Massacre” and “Through the Prism of Witchcraft” deal with the issue of witchcraft during the seventeenth and eighteenth century and the underlying causes, problems, and social issues within the societies where accusations were common. These articles both work to disprove the commonly held beliefs that witchcraft accusations were primarily made against women and that the massacre of cats in France was solely due to a revolt against the social hierarchy.

The article “Through the Prism of Witchcraft” by Valerie Kivelson describes the variety of reasons behind the rise in witchcraft accusations, as well as working to prove approaches towards witchcraft were not uniform throughout all the affected countries.… Read the rest here

Cat massacres and witch trials: reading between the lines

After reading Darton’s “Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Severin”and Kilvelson’s “Through the Prism of Witchcraft: Gender and Social Change in Seventeenth-Century Muscovy,” I was struck by the common thread between the two: that the phenomena they examine are not taken at face value, but are rather viewed as expressions of social angst.

For the journeymen of the Parisian print shop discussed by Darnton, this angst was directed at their master and his wife.… Read the rest here