The Making of Salem

The Witch Trials in History, Fiction and Tourism


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About the Book

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 are a case study in hysteria and group psychology, and the cultural effects still linger centuries later. This critical study examines original trial transcripts, historical accounts, fiction and drama, film and television shows, and tourist sites in contemporary Salem, challenging the process of how history is collected and recorded. Drawing from literary and historical theory, as well as from performance studies, the book offers a new definition of history and uses Salem as a tool for rethinking the relationships between the truth and the stories people tell about the past.

About the Author(s)

Robin DeRosa is an associate professor of English at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She edited the collection Assimilation and Subversion in Earlier American Literature and has contributed essays to American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance, Women as Sites of Culture, Postscript: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, In-Between: Essays and Studies in Literary Criticism, and The Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature.

Bibliographic Details

Robin DeRosa

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3983-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5449-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. “You Seem to Act Witchcraft” Theatricality and the Trial Transcripts      29
2. From Shards to Meanings Historians Make Sense of the Trials      62
3. Fiction and the Real Novelists Rewrite Salem      97
4. A Dramatic Tale Salem on Stage and Screen      126
5. Selling the Story From Salem Village to Witch City      152

Notes      187
Bibliography      199
Index      207

Book Reviews & Awards

“A clever re-examination of the processes and products of writing history”—Choice