Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


The focus of this thesis are two recent novels featuring witches: Chloé Delaume’s Les Sorcières de la République(The Witches of the Republic, 2016) and Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies (2020). The first is a futuristic dystopia set in 2062, during the witch trial of the Sibyl of Cumae. The second is a work of historical fiction based on witch trial records and set in seventeenth-century Finnmark (Norway). Both are feminist novels, and both emphasize the political valence of the witch as a gendered figure. This figure emerged from the misogyny of early modern demonology but acquired its contemporary contours through second-wave feminism, which seized on the witch as an emblem of feminine power and solidarity against patriarchal oppression. Delaume’s Les Sorcières de la République and Hargrave’s The Mercies engage directly with this complex historical legacy, either by “correcting” the documentary record left behind by demonologists, or by underscoring the shortcomings of the political ideals embraced by second-wave feminists.


Witch, Witchcrafts, Literature, History, Feminism, Politics

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Carmen Nocenteli

Second Committee Member

Dr. Francis Higginson

Third Committee Member

Dr. Michael A. Ryan