04 Elizabeth Gaskell and the Salem Witch Trials from When Women Write Horror with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (1 minute 15 seconds)

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04 Elizabeth Gaskell and the Salem Witch Trials from When Women Write Horror with Dr. Rosanne Welch

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In honor of Halloween – and in service to my teaching philosophy —

“Words Matter. Writers Matter. Women Writers Matter.”

I presented this holiday lecture “When Women Write Horror” on Tuesday, October 29th, 2019. Researching the many, many women who have written horror stories – in novels, films and television – brought new names to my attention who I am excited to start reading. I hope you will be, too!


I think she’s really interesting because she brings the female gaze — the first female to write about the Salem witch trials right? We hear stories from the male perspective about these crazy bad women who were doing these witchy things and now we have a book from the female perspective. What was this really about and what is being a witch about? Is that about power and is that what scared all the men back in Salem that they didn’t want women to have power right and when we look into the history of the Salem witch trials we know that there are many possibilities for why those women were chosen? Among them, several of them were land-owning women and back of the day women weren’t supposed to own land. Only men were but if your husband died and you had no male kids you inherited it and the funny thing about Salem was the men who sat on the council in the city who decided if you were a witch or not when you were convicted and your land went up for public sale the men on the council got to buy any public sale land first shot half price. Just by accident, they were finding women guilty who happened to own land that was rather lovely for them to buy. So she’s looking at this period through this female gaze which we don’t teach in schools.

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