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Imagining the WitchEmotions, Gender, and Selfhood in Early Modern Germany$
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Laura Kounine

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799085.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Being on trial

Being on trial

Interrogating mind and body

(p.37) 1 Being on trial
Imagining the Witch

Laura Kounine

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the legal, communal, and individual understandings of witchcraft. Witchcraft, at its most fundamental, involves wishing harm to others. It thus centrally concerns the impact of emotional states on physical ones. In a court of law, since physical evidence of witchcraft was highly ambiguous, interrogators, accusers, and witnesses had to search for other signs to prove the accused guilty. How did they behave during a trial? What did their physical features and reactions reveal about their emotional states? How was someone’s physical and mental state utilized in the courtroom as ‘proof’ of their supposed transgressions? By comparing how mind and body were understood in both male and female witch-trials, this chapter sheds light on broader understandings of gendered expectations of emotional repertoires, as well as cultural, legal, and medical notions of what constituted innocence, guilt, and the ‘truth’.

Keywords:   body, mind, emotional, trial, witchcraft

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