Novels

  • The Enchantress of Florence (Salman Rushdie):

“It was important not to offend against the laws of magic. If a woman left you it was because someone else cast a stronger enchantment than yours, or else because your marriage was cursed in such a way that it cut ties of love between husband and wife. Why did So- and so rather than such and such enjoy success in his business? Because he visited the right enchanter. There was a thing in the emperor that rebelled against all this flummery, for was it not that kind of infantilization of the self to give up one’s power of agency and believe that such power resided outside oneself rather than within? This was also his objection to God, that his existence deprived human beings of the right to form ethical structures by themselves.  But magic was all around and would not be denied, and it would be a rash ruler who pooh-poohed it. Religion could be rethought, re-examined, remade, perhaps even discarded; magic was impervious to such assaults. This, finally, was why the story of Qara Koz had so easily possessed the imaginatino of the people of Sikri (and Florence). She had taken her magic, “their magic”, into other worlds, worlds with their own occultism, and her sorcery had proved more potent than theirs. Her sorcery. Which not even he, the emperor, could resist.”