There are few subjects on which so much has been written, yet so little that is serious in aim and scholarly in method. An idea of the literature as a whole may be gained from a paper on "The Literature of Witchcraft," contributed by the present editor to the Papers of the American Historical Association for 1890, and from Dr. Justin Winsor's "The Literature of Witchcraft in New England," in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society for 1895. The best survey, in English, of the whole subject is still the chapter "Magic and Witchcraft" in Mr. Lecky's "History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe." Mr. Lea's "History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages" has precious chapters on "Sorcery and Occult Arts" and on "Witchcraft." Admirable for its insight is James Russell Lowell's essay on "Witchcraft" (in his "Among my Books"). Of the monographs the best of the more comprehensive are:
Soldan: Geschichte der Hexenprozesse. Neu bearbeitet von H. Heppe. 2 vols. Stuttgart, 1880.
Long the standard history of the witch-persecutions.
Hansen: Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter und die Entstehung der grossen Hexenverfolgung. München, 1900.
The most thorough study of the rise of witch-persecution in Christendom. For the period prior to 1540 it supplants all else. Added as Quellen Und Untersuchungen (Bonn, 1901) is a priceless collection of sources.
Wright: Narratives of Sorcery and Magic. 2 vols. London, 1851. (1 vol. New York, 1852.).
Written to entertain, and with little attempt at exhaustiveness, but the work of a true scholar. It is episodical in treatment and gives especial attention to the persecution in lands of English speech.
Baissac: Les Grands Jours de la Sorcellerie. Paris, 1890.
The best of the French histories of the subject. It gives most attention to France. An earlier book of Baissac's, Le Diable (Paris, 1882), is also of value for this study.
Diefenbach: Der Hexenwahn vor und nach der Glaubensspaltung in Deutschland. Mainz, 1886.
A study, by a Catholic apologist, of the share of the rival faiths in the persecution. Directed in part against Soldan. An abler and more thorough treatment from the Catholic side is now to be found, however, in the eighth volume of Janssen's Geschichte des deutschen Volkes (Freiburg, 1894).
Längin: Religion und Hexenprozess. Leipzig, 1888.
From a Protestant point of view. In part an answer to Diefenbach.
Michelet: La Sorcière. Paris, 1862.
An eloquent book, by a brilliant scholar; but a rhapsody rather than a history, and as full of fancy as of fact. There is an English translation (London, 1863).
Upham: Salem Witchcraft. 2 vols. Boston, 1867.
The standard work upon the most notable of American witch-persecutions. It may be supplemented by Drake's Annals of Witchcraft in New England and elsewhere in the United States (Boston, 1869).
Roskoff: Geschichte des Teufels. 2 vols. Leipzig, 1869.
Best for the history of the Devil in his relation to witchcraft. Of value, but dealing less with the witch persecution, are also Conway's Demonology and Devil-lore (London, and New York, 1879) and Graf's Il Diavolo (Milan, 1889).
Binz: Doctor Johann Weyer. Bonn, 1885. 2d ed., enlarged, Berlin, 1896.
A scholarly biography of the first great opponent of witch-persecution, with excellent sketches of his opponents and of his followers in this humane struggle.