Kevin Jackson

Bewitched

The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

By

Penguin 643pp £30 order from our bookshop

Brian Copenhaver’s hefty anthology of some three-thousand-odd years of writing on magic is wide-ranging, bracingly independent-minded and deliciously erudite. The book is arranged in chronological order and divided into eleven sections, and it gathers together the better part of two hundred short texts – many of them freshly translated by Copenhaver, a professor of philosophy at UCLA – starting with the Old Testament. He moves on to ancient Greece and Rome, and then, via the Middle Ages and the early modern period, to the first stirrings of the Enlightenment in the later 17th century with the likes of Newton’s furious rival and enemy, Leibniz. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,