When, in 1982, Cibella Borges protested against her suspension from the police force for posing nude for a magazine, she insisted that her action had constituted no crime. ‘She said she feared “the trial is just like the New England witch-hunt. They’ve made up their minds that I am a witch and they want to burn me.”‘ In fact, none of the individuals convicted in 1692 were burned at the stake, although they were subjected to the theatricality of the gallows. With copious and detailed examples, Bernard Rosenthal argues that the constructed history of the Salem witch trials mirrors the perniciousness of the trials themselves.
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'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)