Carlo Ginzburg

Carlo Ginzburg is the author of The Cheese and the Worms.

The Case of Adriano Sofri

Carlo Ginzburg, 3 April 1997

The eruption of youthful insubordination in 1968 seemed to go beyond barriers of language, culture and class. Today, almost thirty years later, one is struck not only by the homogeneity of the movement, but also by the diversity of the traces it left behind in different countries. In Germany, for example, the effects of 1968 (or so it seems to a foreigner) were expressed mainly in people’s private lives and a gulf opened up between generations. In Italy, political and social stability were profoundly shaken. The workers’ struggle for improved conditions of employment, sparked off by the French example, dragged bitterly on throughout the ‘hot autumn’ of 1969. The climax came on 12 December, when a bomb exploded in a Milan branch of the Banca dell’Agricoltura: 16 people were killed, and another died soon afterwards. On the same day, two more bombs exploded in Rome, one in a bank and the other next to the Altare della Patria, but in neither case was anyone hurt. According to the questore (the state functionary in charge of public order), Milanese anarchists were responsible for the bombings.

The European (Re)discovery of the Shamans

Carlo Ginzburg, 28 January 1993

In a book which appeared in Venice in 1565, later reprinted and translated many times, La Historia del mondo nuovo, the Milanese Girolamo Benzoni described what he had seen in the course of his 14 years of travelling in the ‘newly discovered islands and seas’ beyond the Ocean. About the island of Hispaniola, he related the following:



8 November 1990

I am very grateful to Perry Anderson for the attention he has paid to my book Storia Notturna (LRB, 8 November 1990). Above all, I am grateful for his lucid, probing, implacable critical remarks. Storia Notturna has now been published by Radius in an English translation, with a different title (Ecstasies), and readers will be able to evaluate the comparative strength of my arguments and Anderson’s...

Being a benandante

2 February 1984

SIR: In his long review of my The Night Battles (LRB, 2 February) Anthony Pagden, having first praised me for my literary skills, goes on to criticise vigorously the ‘sometimes shaky nature of the arguments and assumptions’ which ‘underpin’ my ‘reconstructions’. Before examining each one of Pagden’s objections I should like to remind the reader that The Night Battles reconstructs the...

That he was a werewolf seems to have been common knowledge and Thiess himself freely admitted it – in fact, he said, it wasn’t even the first time it had been mentioned in court. Ten years earlier,...

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The Force of the Anomaly: Carlo Ginzburg

Perry Anderson, 26 April 2012

The positive claims of Ginzburg’s micro-history rest on the power of the anomaly.

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Perry Anderson, 8 November 1990

Carlo Ginzburg has many claims to be considered the outstanding European historian of the generation which came of age in the late Sixties. Certainly few have equalled him in originality, variety...

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Momentary Substances

Nicholas Penny, 21 November 1985

In the middle of his new book Michael Baxandall wonders whether the ‘complex Newtonian-Lockean sense of how we see’, which he has just expertly expounded, provides any...

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Being a benandante

Anthony Pagden, 2 February 1984

In the mountainous district of Friuli in Northern Italy there were good witches and bad, ‘good walkers’ (benandanti) and evil ones. On certain nights of the year during the Ember...

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Do you want the allegory?

Charles Hope, 17 March 1983

A friend of mine recently went to see Pisanello’s fresco of St George and the Princess in the Church of Sant’ Anastasia in Verona. She was soon accosted by the sacristan, who was...

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Christopher Hill, 6 November 1980

This is not quite another Montaillou. Professor Ginzburg’s book deals with an isolated heretical individual, not with a heretical community. But it shares some of the qualities of that...

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