Epilogue: In Times of Plague

  • María Tausiet
Part of the Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic book series (PHSWM)


According to Daniel Defoe’s fictionalized account of the plague that struck London in 1665, its citizens reacted to the epidemic in one of two ways — they either turned to magic or sought solace in religion. As a man of the Enlightenment, Defoe regarded this as a choice between opposing positions, since it was ‘the common people’ who followed ‘mock astrologers’ while ‘serious and understanding persons thundered against these and other wicked practices, and exposed the folly as well as the wickedness of them altogether’. His narrator concludes that ‘those people who were really serious and religious applied themselves in a truly Christian manner to the proper work of repentance and humiliation as a Christian people ought to do’.2


White Cloth Proper Work Female Defendant Private Prayer Golden Thread 
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  1. 1.
    Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year, London, Penguin Classics, 1986, pp. 47–49.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    José Estiche, Tratado de la peste de Zaragoza en el ano 1652, Pamplona, Diego Zabala, 1655.Google Scholar
  3. 32.
    See Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, London, Penguin, 1971, pp. 27–57.Google Scholar

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© María Tausiet 2013

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  • María Tausiet

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