Getting It Wrong

The Problems with Reinventing the Past


  • Diane Purkiss Keble College, Oxford



Witches, Contemporary Pagans, Television, Reinvention, Antisemitism


This article is an examination of recent best-selling fictions and television adaptations which portray the history of witchcraft, often using outmoded historical theses, and often falsifying the known life histories of actual convicted witches. This article argues that these fictions, marked by problematically eugenicist ideas of magic, and in one case by a very uncomfortable appropriation of the Holocaust, are ultimately unhelpful to Pagans because they falsify history and deny the real needs of the contemporary Pagan communities.

Author Biography

  • Diane Purkiss, Keble College, Oxford

    Diane Purkiss is a professor of English literature at Keble College, Oxford.


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How to Cite

Purkiss, D. (2020). Getting It Wrong: The Problems with Reinventing the Past. Pomegranate, 21(2), 256-277.