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Tabitha Stanmore

Tuesday 10th September

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh, 2 Blenheim Place, Edinburgh EH7 5JH
Doors Open
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Tabitha Stanmore transports us to a time when magic was used to navigate life's challenges and solve problems of both trivial and deadly importance. Join us to celebrate her absolutely fascinating latest publication, Cunning Folk.

Cunning Folk

It's 1600 and you've lost your precious silver spoons, or maybe they've been stolen. Perhaps your child has a fever. Or you're facing trial. Maybe you're looking for love or escaping a husband. What do you do?

In medieval and early modern Europe, your first port of call might have been cunning folk: practitioners of 'service magic'. Neither feared (like witches), nor venerated (like saints), these people were essential: a ubiquitous presence at a time when the supernatural was surprisingly mundane and a cherished everyday resource.

We meet lovelorn widows, selfless healers and renegade monks; we listen in on Queen Elizabeth I's astrology readings and track treasure hunters who try to keep peace with fairies. Much like us, premodern people lived in bewildering times, buffeted by forces beyond their control - and their faith in magic has much to teach us about how we accommodate ourselves to the irrational in our allegedly enlightened lives today.

Charming in every sense of the word, Cunning Folk is an immersive reconstruction of a bygone world and a thought-provoking commentary on the beauty and bafflement of being human.

About Tabitha Stanmore

Tabitha Stanmore is a social historian of magic and witchcraft at the University of Exeter. She is part of the Leverhulme-funded Seven County Witch-Hunt Project, and her doctoral thesis was published as Love Spells and Lost Treasure: Service Magic in England from the Later Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period. She has featured on Radio 3's Free Thinking and BBC 4's Plague Fiction, and her writing has been published in the Conversation.

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