My Review of The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York by Charles Leland
Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. BUY THIS BOOK. Yes, I know it’s rather pricey at $65. I don’t care. You won’t either, not once you crack this thing open. The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York by Charles Leland is something altogether special. It’s one of those rare events in publishing when a book is so lovingly crafted, so expertly reproduced, that you are emotionally drawn into it.
I was affected in just such a way by this marvelous work.
You already know about my admiration for Charles Leland, particularly of his Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches, but The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York is even more illuminating. Leland’s complete masterpiece is reproduced here, each a perfect facsimile of the original handwritten and drawn pages. And what pages they are. Leland’s artwork is sublime and whimsical, a true testament to his craftsmanship, and the fanciful content — this collection of folk magic and compendium of boggarts, sprites, pixies, nightmares, and more — is a treasure.
In addition to the facsimile pages is a complete transcription of the text and a thorough introduction by Societas Magica co-founder Professor Robert Mathiesen.
To write that I was immediately enamored by this book is an obvious understatement. It has scarcely left my sight since I first opened it. I understand that Dame Darrel is the fictitious creation of Charles Leland, but this does not diminish the sense of magic and wonder discovered inside. As a work of art alone this book is a marvel. The content, this gathering of Old World folklore, makes The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York all the more compelling for, just as he did with Aradia, Charles Leland caught lightning in a bottle and the thunder of his words conveys a simpler truth from a simpler time.
The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York is available wherever books are sold but more magically delicious when ordered directly from Red Wheel/Weiser.