The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's Dog

Witchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War

Mark Stoyle

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ISBN: 9780859898591

Publication: June 6, 2011

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
This compelling book from Mark Stoyle sets out to uncover the true history of Boy, the canine companion of Charles I’s famous nephew, Prince Rupert. Like his master, Boy was held to possess dark powers and was elevated to celebrity status as a ‘dog-witch’ during the English Civil War of 1642-46. Many scholars have remarked upon the fantastical rumours which circulated about Prince Rupert and his dog, but no-one has investigated the source of these rumours, or explored how the supernatural element of the prince’s public image developed over time. In this book, Mark Stoyle recounts the occult stories which centred upon Prince Rupert and his dog. He shows how those stories grew out of, and contributed to, the changing pattern of witch-belief in England during the Civil War. Shortlisted for the Folklore Society’s Katharine Briggs Award 2012.

Mark Stoyle is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton. He is the author of 'Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiance in Devon during the English Civil War' University of Exeter Press, 1994), 'From Deliverance to Destruction: Rebellion and Civil War in an English City' (UEP, 1996), 'West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern British State' (UEP, 2002) and 'Circled with Stone: Exeter’s City Walls 1485-1660' (UEP, 2003).

Chronology Introduction 1: Boy and the Historians 2: ‘The Prince and the Poodle’: Before The Civil War 3: ‘Dutchland Devil’: The Prince and The Pamphleteers, August to December 1642 4: ‘Lapland Lady’: The Poodle and The Pamphleteers, January to February 1643 5: ‘Imagining Boy’: The Roots of the Myth 6: ‘Occult Celebrity’: Boy in the Public Eye, February to August 1643 7: ‘A Dog’s Elegy’: From Newbury to Marston Moor, September 1643 to July 1644 8: ‘A Dog’s Legacy’: After Marston Moor Conclusion Appendix: Observations upon Prince Rupert’s White Dog Called Boy Notes Bibliography Index

Mark Stoyle’s entertaining and thorough detective work pieces together the various religious, cultural and political elements that coalesced to form Rupert’s demonic reputation.
  EHR, CXXIX. 540

Meticulously researched, persuasive and thoroughly enjoyable... [it] transcends the realm of biography ... and presents a radical new framework for viewing the mass persecution of witches in 1645-47.
  The Seventeenth Century, 29.2

Stoyle's analysis brings an entirely new perspective to sources that have too often been used only to add atmosphere to historical narratives. Stoyle sifts myth from reality to make some compelling suggestions about both the real Boy and the politics of witchcraft within the propaganda battles of the English Civil Wars.
  History Today

Stoyle’s analysis is masterful ...a book that is immensely readable, and also worth reading.
  Times Higher Education

This deconstruction/reconstruction of a seventeenth century political legend is highly readable and interesting. It shows a welcome attempt to incorporate folklore research into historiography.
  Folklore Society’s Katharine Briggs Award 2012 judges

A cross-over book, appealing as it should to those who are obsessed by witchcraft and those who are keen followers of civil war studies.
Martyn Bennett  
Nottingham Trent University

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

254 Pages

ISBN: 9780859898591

Publication: June 6, 2011

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