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The Cheese and the Worms is a study of the popular culture in the sixteenth century as seen through the eyes of one man, a miller brought to trial during the Inquisition. Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records of Domenico Scandella, a miller also known as Menocchio, to show how one person responded to the confusing political and religious conditions of his time. For a common miller, Menocchio was surprisingly literate. In his trial testimony he made references to more than a dozen books, including the Bible, Boccaccio's Decameron, Mandeville's Travels, and a "mysterious" book that may have been the Koran. And what he read he recast in terms familiar to him, as in his own version of the creation: "All was chaos, that is earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and of that bulk a mass formed-just as cheese is made out of milk-and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801843877
ISBN-10: 0801843871
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 155mm x 13mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 1-Mar-1992
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Domenico Scandella, called Menocchio, was an Italian miller in the late 16th century, who fell foul of the Holy Office and, after two trials 15 years apart, was burned at the stake. His crime was that he had his own theological ideas and was convinced that the whole world sprang from decay - like worms from cheese. This extraordinary book traces Menocchio's story and all the originality and vigour of his character, and from the court records deduces the reading habits and religious ideas of the time. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Carlo Ginzburg

Carlo Ginzburg is a professor at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy, and the recipient of the prestigious International Balzan Prize. He is author of The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century and Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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