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The Bathhouse at Midnight: Magic in Russia

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Subject: The Bathhouse at Midnight: Magic in Russia
   William Ryan
   512 pages/ 6" X 9" (1999)
   ISBN 0-271-01966-2 / cloth: $65.00s
   ISBN 0-271-01967-0 / paper: $22.50t
   "This is clearly a magnum opus. . . it will immediately be a
   classic in its field."
   Richard Kieckhefer, Professor of History and Religion,
   Northwestern University
   "Ryan's book is the first synthesis ever attempted of the large
   body of scholarly literature on the history of magic and
   diviniation in Russia up to the eigteenth century and beyond. His
   book will long be the definitive treatment of the subject. The
   Bathhouse at Midnight will not disappoint the reader: it is truly
   magisterial, both broad and deep. Ryan's surveys are detailed and
   accurate, and his judgements are impeccable."
   Robert Matthiesen, Professor of Slavic Languages, Brown
   The first general history of magic in Russia from Byzantium to
   the eighteenth
   century, with some themes followed up to the present day.
   The title of this book refers to the classic time and place for
   magic, witchcraft, and divination in Russia. The Bathhouse at
   Midnight, by one of the world's foremost experts on the subject,
   surveys all forms of magic, both learned and popular, in Russia
   from the fifth to the eighteenth century.
   While no book on the subject could be exhaustive, The Bathhouse
   at Midnight does describe and assess all the literary sources of
   magic, witchcraft, astrology, alchemy, and divination from Kiev
   Rus and Imperial Russia, and to some extent Ukraine and
   Belorussia. Where possible, Ryan identifies the sources of the
   texts (usually Greek, Arabic, or West European) and makes
   parallels to other cultures, ranging from classical antiquity to
   Finnic. He finds that Russia shares most of its magic and
   divination with the rest of Europe.
   Subjects covered include the Evil Eye, the Number of the Beast,
   omens, dreams, talismans and
   amulets, plants, gemstones, and other materials thought to
   possess magic properties. The first
   chapter gives a historical overview, and the final chapter
   summarizes the political, religious, and
   legal aspects of the history of magic in Russia. The author also
   provides translations of some key
   The Bathhouse at Midnight will be invaluable for anyone-student,
   teacher, or general
   reader-with an interest in Russia, magic, or the occult. It is
   unique in its field and is set to become
   the definitive study of Russian magic.
   W. F. Ryan is academic librarian of the Warburg Institute at the
   University of London, School of
   Advanced Studies. He has published widely on the subject of magic
   in Russia and is co-author of
   the Penguin Russian Dictionary (1995) and co-editor of numerous
   scholarly books, including
   Anglo-Russian Relations in the Age of Peter the Great (1998).

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