The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's Dog: Witchcraft and Propaganda During the English Civil War (BOK)
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The elevation to celebrity status of a 'dog-witch' named Boy was one of the more bizarre consequences of the English Civil War of 1642-46. Boy was the loyal companion of Charles I's nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and like his master was held to possess supernatural powers. In the ephemeral sensational literature of the day, Boy was frequently portrayed as a 'devil', a witch or a witch's familiar. Such was the popular interest in Boy that no less than five separate images of him were produced between 1643 and 1644. Many previous scholars have remarked upon the fantastical rumours which circulated about Prince Rupert and his dog, but no-one has ever investigated the source of these rumours, or explored how the preternatural element of the prince's public image developed over time. This compelling new book from Mark Stoyle sets out to uncover the true story of Boy - and in the process sheds new light on the fascinating series of collisions and interactions between polemic and traditional witch-belief in the troubled 1640's.