La figure de la sorcière dans la littérature du XIXe siècle (Jules Michelet, George Sand, Eliza Orzeszkowa)

Fournier Kiss, Corinne (2012). La figure de la sorcière dans la littérature du XIXe siècle (Jules Michelet, George Sand, Eliza Orzeszkowa). Wiek XIX. Rocznik Towarzystwa Literackiego im. Adama Mickiewicza, pp. 259-281. 10.18318/wiekxix.2012.13

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The nineteenth century uncovered and analysed the tragic episodes of witch-hunting and ‘witch’ trials common in Renaissance Europe. Fascinating not only to historians, this subject also inspired men of letters who popularized the image of the witch as an old, ugly and evil person, who thus deserved her lot. Jules Michelet’s La sorcière of 1862 takes a very different approach. Simultaneously a literary and historical work, the book proved scandalous as it rehabilitated the figure of the witch, shedding favourable light on her image: it was the witch who was able to save a last spark of humanity in moments of despair; it was she who acted as comforter and healer to the people.
In the context of nineteenth-century literature, certain works by female authors that focused on ‘witches,’ stand out. Whilst certain male authors (Michelet included) presented the witch as a figure from the past, who had finally perished in the 17th century, texts such as George Sand’s La petite Fadette (1848) or Eliza Orzeszkowa’s Dziurdziowie (1885), suggest that the end of witch trials did not imply an end to accusations, persecutions, and even executions of ‘witches’ – and, that in terms of culture, witchcraft or sorcery had not disappeared from the societies they knew.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Fournier Kiss, Corinne


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 890 Other literatures
900 History






Corinne Ingrid Fournier Kiss

Date Deposited:

22 Apr 2014 15:06

Last Modified:

28 Dec 2020 07:21

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Witch-hunt, witch trials, sorcery/witchcraft, Jules Michelet, George Sand, Eliza Orzeszkowa




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