The Cheese and the Worms is an incisive study of popular culture in the sixteenth Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records to illustrate the religious and social. Carlo Ginzburg. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins. Professor Ginzburg’s book deals with an isolated heretical individual, not with a heretical . The Cheese and the Worms is enthralling reading.

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This is an insightful book for all of us who assume European peasants were illiterate, uneducated, non-thinking folk.

Id pair this with “The Faithful Executioner” for the reader who’s interested in seeing how carefree life was for the peasantry during and after the renaissance.

Open Preview See a Problem? He was asked to name accomplices.

Only in the s in England could Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, early Quakers and other sectaries get some popular ideas into print. Sure, cheees was uncommonly literate, and yes it was somewhat interesting to see how his reading manifested itself into his belief system thus justifying fears that when peasants get a hold of books they are going to come to their tne conclusions regarding their contents, rather than those the clergy so dogmatically thrust upon them.

While the beliefs of the hierarchies can be listed and referenced to published works the actual beliefs of their followers remain unknown unless they happened to run foul of the heresy courts in one jurisdiction or another, even then the inquisitor might be looking to squeeze them into some known category of schismatic or other.

But if they did hold unorthodox views there was no prospect of giinzburg them printed, except when the orthodox refuted and denounced them. More positively, Menocchio accepted a sort of materialist pantheism, such as was to be reproduced in midth-century England by Ranters and Gerrard Winstanley. It deals with conscience, the need of a man to tell his truth to the world, qorms much needed nowadays.

Omg spoiler alert, I know. Lay readers know that historical work of this order requires formidable skills and dogged research 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.


The historian in me just can’t quite handle the leaps Ginzburg makes from the available evidence, though, so I’m really unsure if I will hang on to it. It’s microcosm history, and it’s hard to categorize because Ginzburg is taking a lot of liberties in saying what people were thinking and feeling when all we have is what they said.

The period he works with is particularly apt for such explorations of individuals, speci I’ve never had the pleasure of reading about such a well-documented life of any regular person that had lived before the s before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. An Italian translation of the 14th-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville revealed to him the existence of the quite different civilisations and religions of Islam, India and China.

The Cheese and the Worms

After a few years he was released from prison, but he couldn’t stop talking, and ultimately the cardinal and pope put their red slippers down and insisted he be burned at the stake, pronto. Because of his nature, he was unable to cease speaking about his theological ideas with those who would listen.

The most grave of which is that he clearly had too much information for a concise paper, but far too little evidence for a satisfying monograph. We should not let the long tradition of smearing practicing Catholics as the brainwashed servants of a threatening foreign power—in which sensationalist and hyperbolic depictions of the Roman Inquisition play a part—from identifying the Catholic Church of the late sixteenth century for what it was: Ginzburg has penned a new preface and bibliographical information has been augmented.

The Cheese and the Worms

He may not have understood what he was reading very well due to limited literacy or not ginzbrg able to read the dialect his books were in. Please try again later. I did learn a few things — like the fact that, apparently, a person interrogated by the Inquisition could retain legal counsel and might even have a chance of getting off easy O. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics.

Le idee del Menocchio sono molto affascinanti e avanti per il suo tempo. The second level of this book is Ginzburg’s quest to reconstruct how Menocchio came to his bizarre cosmology, which at various points seem to correspond to other movements—Lutheranism, Venetian Anabaptism, Socinianism, radical humanism, and even Hinduism, shamanism, and ancient Greek philosophy—but in its entirety cannot be identified with any of them. I’m sure for the right ginnzburg of history major that is, one that’s interested in actual events in history rather than their theoretical importance this is a revelation.


The Cheese and the Worms is enthralling reading.

The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller

English Choose a language for shopping. This is not quite another Montaillou. Facinating book, but Ginzburg over-reaches.

Other editions – View all The Cheese and the Worms: His philosophical teachings earned him the title of a heresiarch during the Inquisition and he was eventually burned at the stake inat the age of 67, on orders of Pope Clement VIII. Menocchio’s literacy may be accounted for by the establishment of schools in the villages surrounding Friuli: For a more compelling historical biography of the era, see Ginzburrg F.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. A classic but ultimately a failed excercise. Oct 13, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. The period he works with is particularly apt for such explorations of individuals, specifically because the churches hceese Catholic and Lutheran precisely start losing control over the individual at this point.

Ginzburg’s concise study was a fine read for a number of reasons. Beyond Menocchio, Ginzburg is able to give inklings about giznburg early Renaissance culture ; his claim that Menocchio has used an unspoken “popular tradution” as a cradle for his idea makes me feel skeptical, for he was most probably not from cheeae poorer, popular citizens of Montereale he knew how to read, had travelled and I saw more in Menocchio an example of how the spread of books owrms forge one man’s opinion.

Cheese and the worms were an explanatory analogy for him. Only in the present generation have historians like Robert Mandrou and Peter Burke seriously ginbzurg to ascertain what was going on beneath the surface. Menocchio is a wonderful guy to read about, alternately audacious and very sad. Many of these books were loaned to Menocchio and were common at the time. History books about Italy books Anthropology books Counter-Reformation. Professor Ginzburg stresses that the peasant culture existed in its own right, and was not merely the cast-off ideas of a higher culture.