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Montereale

Christopher Hill, 6 November 1980

The Cheese and the Worms: the Cosmos of a 16th-Century Miller 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by John Tedeschi and Anne Tedeschi.
Routledge, 177 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 7100 0591 1
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... 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 marvellous book. It reveals an almost equally startling body of wholly unorthodox ideas existing within a nominally Roman Catholic society. The Middle Ages, it has been unkindly said, appear to be ‘the age of faith’ because nearly all the evidence which survives was written by monks and priests ...

Being a benandante

Anthony Pagden, 2 February 1984

The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the 16th and 17th Centuries 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by John Tedeschi and Anne Tedeschi.
Routledge, 209 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 7100 9507 4
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... the wooden palettes used for cleaning ovens. Ranged like armies with their captains and their banners, they fought all night long. If the benandanti won, then the harvest would be safe, but if the witches won then there would be famine. The benandanti could also on occasion cure the bewitched and protect people’s homes from the vandalism of the ...

The Force of the Anomaly

Perry Anderson: Carlo Ginzburg, 26 April 2012

Threads and Traces: True False Fictive 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by Anne Tedeschi and John Tedeschi.
California, 328 pp., £20.95, January 2012, 978 0 520 25961 4
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... Carlo Ginzburg became famous as a historian for extraordinary discoveries about popular belief, and what was taken by its persecutors to be witchcraft, in the early modern period. The Night Battles and The Cheese and the Worms, each a case-study from the north-east corner of Italy, were followed by a synthesis of Eurasian sweep in Ecstasies. The work that has appeared since is no less challenging, but there has been a significant alteration of its forms, and many of its themes ...

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