Updated: 8/16/15; 18:57:42

pedantic nuthatch
Life in a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. B.M.A.T.C., and Etruscan typewriter erasers. Blogged by David Gorsline.

Saturday, 31 December 2005

Linda Wertheimer lobs some gentle questions to Alain de Botton on the subject of Proust, memory, and time, in a radio clip.

posted: 2:44:20 PM  

Another source I'm using in Crucible research is The Salem Witch Trials Reader, edited by Frances Hill. In the first half of the book, she tells the story of the unpleasantness in 17th-century Puritan Essex County solely with excerpts from primary sources. These include books and broadsides, letters, and court records—though not of the actual Court of Oyer and Terminer. Those papers have been lost.

Thomas Brattle wrote the following letter in October, 1692, (as Hill puts it), to an unknown correspondent, "probably with a view to its being circulated in manuscript and influencing" Governor Phipps and the General Court (the colonial governing body). Brattle was a businessman, mathematician, and astronomer, and his letter was a plea for rationalistic interpretation of the strange phenomena in Salem. One hard-nosed point of his nearly touches sarcasm, concerning the examination of an accused witch's body for a "witches' teat":

[The accused] are searched by a jury; and as to some of them, the jury brought in, that on such or such a place there was a preternatural excrescence. And I wonder what person there is, whether man or woman, of whom it cannot be said but that, in some part of their body or other, there is a preternatural excrescence. The term is a very general and inclusive term. (Hill, p. 90)

Or, as I explained to Leta, if you're going into court to be tried as a witch, pop your pimples first.

posted: 9:42:03 AM  

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