Surviving the Reformation
- The Beggar and the Professor: A 16th-Century Family Saga by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Arthur Goldhammer
Chicago, 407 pp, £11.95, June 1998, ISBN 0 226 47324 4
This is the story of a goatherd who progressed through destitution and self-education to become the printer of the first edition of Calvin’s greatest work and one of the most respected teachers in Reformation Switzerland. It is also the story of his son, who trained as a doctor, fostered a household of four children, and died leaving 42 musical instruments, a set of skeletons and other bones of creatures from mouse to mammoth (he believed the latter to have belonged to a huge man), a tulip garden, artefacts from across the whole of the newly-discovered globe, stuffed crocodiles and a live elk that doubled as a lawnmower.