The Witch of Eye
Sarabande Books, 9781946448705, 144pp.
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. With which witch in this book do you identify most closely or personally?
2. Of all the spells described in this book, which one would you most like to try yourself?
3. How are the historical figures in this book similar to or different from your earlier ideas about who witches were?
4. Michel de Certeau has said that the key question of a historian is to discover what makes ideas become thinkable. What factors do you think make witch trials thinkable in different times and places throughout history?
5. In many accounts of the Salem witch trials, Titiba is blamed for the craze that overtook the village. Why do you think there has been such a rush to scapegoat her in this way and what factors do you think contributed to this defining moment in American history?
6. Most accused witches eventually confessed, under pain or threat of torture. Why was it so important to the inquisitors to hear that testimony and why was it so significant when women like Lisbet Nypan, Titiba, and Maria Barbosa withheld such confessions?
7. There are many similarities between Hildegaard von Bingen and Angela de la Barthe. Why was the former canonized as a saint while the latter was executed for witchcraft?
8. There is a fair amount of overlap between the history of witch trials and the history of midwifery. What socio-historical forces and ideologies have caused suspicions of malfeasance to be attached to the profession of midwifery?
9. The historian Laura de Mello e Souza has written that through a sub-altern mode of historiography, “it becomes possible to make out faces in the crowd, to extend the historical concept of ‘individual’ in the direction of lower classes.” What are the challenges in telling the stories of accused witches with historical accuracy?
10. Which of the accused witches do you most want to know more about?