This amazingly wise and nimble collection investigates the horrors inflicted on so-called "witches" of the past. The Witch of Eye unearths salves, potions, and spells meant to heal, yet interpreted by inquisitors as evidence of evil. The author describes torture and forced confessions alongside accounts of gentleness of legendary midwives. In one essay about a trial, we learn through folklore that Jesus's mother was a midwife who cured her own son's rheumatism. In other essays there are subtle parallels to contemporary discourse around abortion and environmental destruction. Nuernberger weaves in her own experiences, too. There's an ironic look at her own wedding, an uncomfortable visit to the Prague Museum of Torture, and an afternoon spent tearing out a garden in a mercurial fit. Her researched material is eye-opening, lively, and often funny. An absolutely thrilling collection.
About the Author
Kathryn Nuernberger is the author of three poetry collections, Rue, The End of Pink, and Rag & Bone, as well as the essay collection Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. A recipient of grants and fellowships from the NEA, H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Bakken Museum of Electricity in Life, and American Antiquarian Society, she was awarded the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets and has twice been included on the list of Best American Notable Essays. She teaches on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of Minnesota.