Ancient Mysteries Witches/Goblins/Evil Elizabethan Demonology

Elizabethan Demonology

Elizabethan Demonology
Catalog # SKU1349
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Thomas Alfred Spalding


Elizabethan Demonology

Thomas Alfred Spalding

An Essay in Illustration of the Belief in the Existence of Devils, and the Powers Possessed By Them, as It Was Generally Held during the Period of the Reformation, and the Times Immediately Succeeding; with Special Reference to Shakspere and His Works.


It is impossible to understand and appreciate thoroughly the production of any great literary genius who lived and wrote in times far removed from our own, without a certain amount of familiarity, not only with the precise shades of meaning possessed by the vocabulary he made use of, as distinguished from the sense conveyed by the same words in the present day, but also with the customs and ideas, political, religious and moral, that predominated during the period in which his works were produced. Without such information, it will be found impossible, in many matters of the first importance, to grasp the writer's true intent, and much will appear vague and lifeless that was full of point and vigour when it was first conceived; or, worse still, modern opinion upon the subject will be set up as the standard of interpretation, ideas will be forced into the writer's sentences that could not by any manner of possibility have had place in his mind, and utterly false conclusions as to his meaning will be the result.

Even the man who has had some experience in the study of an early literature, occasionally finds some difficulty in preventing the current opinions of his day from obtruding themselves upon his work and warping his judgment; to the general reader this must indeed be a frequent and serious stumbling-block.

This is a special source of danger in the study of the works of dramatic poets, whose very art lies in the representation of the current opinions, habits, and foibles of their times--in holding up the mirror to their age.

It is true that, if their works are to live, they must deal with subjects of more than mere passing interest; but it is also true that many, and the greatest of them, speak upon questions of eternal interest in the particular light cast upon them in their times, and it is quite possible that the truth may be entirely lost from want of power to recognize it under the disguise in which it comes. A certain motive, for instance, that is an overpowering one in a given period, subsequently appears grotesque, weak, or even powerless; the consequent action becomes incomprehensible, and the actor is contemned; and a simile that appeared most appropriate in the ears of the author's contemporaries, seems meaningless, or ridiculous, to later generations.

An example or two of this possibility of error, derived from works produced during the period with which it is the object of these pages to deal, will not be out of place here.

165+ pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover


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