A translation of Eveline Hasler’s novel, Die Vogelmacherin— literally “The Bird-Maker Girl”—this book tells the story of three children who were prosecuted for witchcraft in seventeenth-century Europe. Challenging strict boundaries between fiction and history, Hasler’s novel draws on trial records and other archival sources that document the legal cases against these children. While the original work offers a detailed portrait of political and religious violence, Maierhofer goes a step further by providing essential context for the novel. Her wide-ranging introduction and meticulous annotations illuminate the relevance and wider significance of Hasler’s writing. For the first time in English, this book brings Hasler’s traumatic history of witchcraft trials to life, exposing the violence of a culture shaped by fear, authoritarian power, and ideals of conformity.
Evelin Hasler is a Swiss writer.
Waltraud Maierhofer is professor of German at the University of Iowa.
Jennifer Vanderbeek is a freelance translator.
Preserving Hasler’s signature writing style, this translation tells the multi-layered story of three children executed for witchcraft in seventeenth-century Europe. The novel draws on witch trial documents and other sources not only to imagine the children’s experiences, but also to recreate the voices of those wielding political and religious authority. Maierhofer’s expert editorial interventions illuminate the historical and cultural contexts that inform the narrative. This volume both restores and invites important work on the experiences of children from marginalized groups, challenging readers to examine notions of empathy, authenticity, and fact-finding in the communication of trauma.