Record Details

Catalog Search

Magic : a history : from alchemy to witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the present / Chris Gosden.


"An Oxford professor of archaeology explores the unique history of magic, the oldest and most neglected strand of human behavior, and its resurgence today"-- Provided by publisher.
"An Oxford professor of archaeology explores the unique history of magic--the oldest and most neglected strand of human behavior and its resurgence today. Three great strands of belief run through human history: Religion is the relationship with one god or many gods, masters of our lives and destinies. Science distances us from the world, turning us into observers and collectors of knowledge. And magic is direct human participation in the universe: we have influence on the world around us, and the world has influence on us. Over the last few centuries, magic has developed a bad reputation--thanks to the unsavory tactics of shady practitioners, and to a successful propaganda campaign on the part of religion and science, which denigrated magic as backward, irrational, and "primitive." In Magic, however, the Oxford professor of archaeology Chris Gosden restores magic to its essential place in the history of the world--revealing it to be an enduring element of human behavior that plays an important role for individuals and cultures. From the curses and charms of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish magic, to the shamanistic traditions of Eurasia, indigenous America, and Africa; from the alchemy of the Renaissance to the condemnation of magic in the colonial period and the mysteries of modern quantum physics--Gosden's startling, fun, and colorful history supplies a missing chapter of the story of our civilization. Drawing on decades of research around the world--touching on the first known horoscope, a statue ordered into exile, and the mystical power of tattoos--Gosden shows what magic can offer us today, and how we might use it to rethink our relationship with the world. Magic is an original, singular, and sweeping work of scholarship, and its revelations will leave a spell on the reader."-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780374200121
  • ISBN: 0374200122
  • Physical Description: xix, 482 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First American edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

Content descriptions

General Note:
"Originally published in 2020 by Viking, Great Britain, as The History of Magic: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the present."
Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages [437]-449) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
What is magic and why is it important? -- The deep history of magic (c. 40,000-6000 BCE) -- The magic of cities: Mesopotamia and Egypt (4000 -1000 BCE) -- Chinese magic: deep participation (c. 20,000 BCE-present) -- Shamanism and magic on the Eurasian Steppe (c. 4000 BCE-present) -- Magical traditions in prehistoric Europe (10,000-0 BCE) -- Jewish, Greek and Roman magic (c. 1000 BCE-1000 CE) -- The magics of Africa, Australia and the Americas -- Medieval and modern magic in Europe (500 CE-present) -- Modern and future magic -- Timeline: Global history of magic.
Subject: Magic > History.
HISTORY / Social History.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social.
RELIGION / History.
Genre: History.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 133.4309 GOS (Text) 000160207 Nonfiction Available -

Additional Resources