It’s been a while since I’ve written up a formal status report, but I do hope that the other posts have kept you well informed of what my work the past few weeks. I finished reading through the essays in Witches & Neighbors by Robin Briggs, and posts detailing those will be up later this week. Other sources that will get a write-up include the short story “Feathertop” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Vandy, Vandy” by Manly Wade Wellman.
In other news, even though my wonderful advisor and I have tried keeping the scope of this project small, it keeps growing. Recently, it came to my attention that there a new book detailing the “perfect storm” that was the Salem Witch trials, A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker. The book has excellent reviews and strives to move beyond the factors in the remnants of Puritan New England that contributed to the witch hunt to connect the events to the larger American narrative. While late in the semester for me to still be reading anything, this book is important, new, and could really add to the course. Unfortunately, things like this keep happening, when every time I think I’ve finally narrowed everything down, new sources or ideas that are too important to ignore pop up. I think that I am just going to have to accept the fact that I need to let this project stretch into next year. The scope will not change; I want my final project at the end of all this to be a course syllabus on what the figure of the witch tells us about society’s hidden fantasies and fears, but I’m not sure that I can complete that by the end of this semester. I will be working to create a syllabus by the end of this semester, but I do not think it will be “complete”.
My current advisor and I are also talking to other professors who might be interested in eventually teaching this class. Given that this project will spillover, we want to go ahead and see if someone is willing to come onto the project to help shape it into it’s final form. Ideally, this person would be someone who could use that form to make my brain child into a reality.
Finally, while unrelated to witches, it is related to my thought process, so here is the song that I have been listening to all morning: Gravedigger by Matt Maeson.