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

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JHU Press, Mar 1, 1992 - History - 177 pages
14 Reviews

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

User Review  - Mark Bowles - Goodreads

Blind Alley?: The books meanings were distorted by Menocchio. His oral culture was the filter for all of his reading * Temple of the Virgins: Example of a detail in a book becoming the central issue ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Brandy - Goodreads

Read this for a grad class. So, I nearly loved this book. And I have next to zero background in sixteenth century anything. Ginzburg expertly showcases the proper way to do microhistory, with a ... Read full review

Contents

Menocchio
1
The town
4
First interrogation
5
Possessed?
6
From Concordia to Portogruaro 6 To speak out against his superiors
12
An archaic society
13
They oppress the poor
16
A miller a painter a buffoon
21
Peasant religion
68
The soul
69
I dont know
70
Two spirits seven souls four elements
72
Contradictions
75
Paradise
76
A new way of life
79
To kill priests SO 42 A new world
81

head
27
The books
28
Readers of the town
30
Printed pages and fantastic opinions
32
The temple of the virgins
34
The father of Christ
36
Judgment day
37
Mandeville
41
Pigmies and cannibals
44
God of nature
47
The three rings
49
Written culture and oral culture
51
Chaos
52
Dialogue
54
Mythical cheeses and real cheeses
56
The monopoly over know ledge
58
The words of the Fioretio
60
The function of metaphors
62
An hypothesis
65
End of the interrogations
86
Letter to the judges
87
Rhetorical figures
90
Prison
93
Return to the town
95
Denunciations
98
Second trial
102
Fantasies
103
Vanities and dreams 206
107
Oh great omnipotent and holy God 208
108
If only I had died when I was fifteen
109
Second sentence
110
Scolio
112
Master steward and workers 62
115
Pellegrino Baroni
118
Two millers
119
Notes 229
129
Index of Names
171
Copyright

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Page 182 - Menocchio reveal that his shameless "preaching and dogmatizing" aroused the ire of the Inquisition and led to his arrest. Under oath, Menocchio shared his homespun cosmogony: I have said that, in my opinion, all was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed — just as cheese is made out of milk — and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels.

References to this book

Spatial Formations
Nigel Thrift
No preview available - 1996
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About the author (1992)

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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