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The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's DogWitchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War$
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Mark Stoyle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898591

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898591.001.0001

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‘Imagining Boy’

‘Imagining Boy’

The roots of the myth

(p.69) 5 ‘Imagining Boy’
The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's Dog

Mark Stoyle

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that the remarkable success of the Observations owed much to the subtlety and skill with which its author tapped into a complex web of pre-existent ideas about the supernatural. Notions of the dog as a witch's attendant spirit, or ‘familiar’ – from the trial of Dame Alice Kyteler in 1324-5 right up until the trial of the Lancashire witches in 1634 - are discussed in depth, and particular attention is paid to the possibility that poodles and spaniels may have been regarded with an especially suspicious eye by contemporaries. The influence of a series of polemical works which were produced during 1641-42 – and particularly of the anti-puritan satires of John Taylor, the ‘water poet’ – on the author of the Observations is also explored. [125]

Keywords:   Familiars*, Witches*, Demons, Spaniels, Prophecy, Incubus*, Dr Faustus, John Taylor*, Mother Shipton, Puritans*

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