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. Professor Ginzburg’s book deals with an isolated heretical individual, not with a heretical . The Cheese and the Worms is enthralling reading. Carlo Ginzburg. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.

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The author uses Menocchio’s references to books he has read to argue for a relationship between “high” culture and “popular” culture in the lives of peasants such that the peasants are neither cheesee unquestioned the culture handed down to them by dominant social groups nor creating spontaneously a self-contained peasant culture.

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

Quotes from The Cheese and th 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. Based on Menocchio’s first trial cgeese books are known to have been read. E allora dovevo proprio metterci le mie rapaci zampette sopra. I really enjoyed this book, the first half of it especially.

He may not have understood what he was reading very well due to limited literacy or not being able to read the dialect his books were in. Messy, uninfluential but individual. Ginzburg talks a bit about this in the preface, and has wogms interesting and reasoned insights — he never claims Menocchio’s story is representative, merely that it represents something we haven’t heard before. Especially since this book is continually praised as an example of how you can tell an important tale without more than a close analysis of a single person’s life thus triumphs the qualitative researcher!

Il Menocchio andava a Venezia a procurarseli e li leggeva attentamente e ci rimuginava sopra.

As a result, the reader is witness to a collision between two worlds, that of the oral culture of the peasant and the literate culture of the aristocracy. In the sentences or snatches of sentences wrung ccheese of books he found the instruments to formulate and defend his ideas.

During the preliminary questioning, Menocchio spoke freely because he felt he had done nothing wrong. Menocchio’s literacy may be accounted for by the establishment of schools in the villages surrounding Friuli: Join our email listserv and receive monthly updates on the latest titles. 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.


Apr 22, Rana rated it did not like it Recommends it for: An Italian translation of the 14th-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville revealed to him the existence of the quite wofms civilisations and religions of Islam, India and China. I’d might’ve tore through this one! Poi, grazie ad una minuziosa ricerca negli archivi, presenta la storia del Menocchio, al tempo Domenico Scandella. Poi ho trovato il libro in offerta su Amazon. Our hero, the miller Menocchio, could read and write, owned anr few books, borrowed a few more, had read the Decameron and dipped into the Koran, and combined the ideas he got from books with the oral tradition of 16th century rural Friuli to form his own slightly odd, very creative, para-Catholic religious notions.

We see victory of written culture over oral culture as Menocchio uses text to support his convictions. The Cheese and the Worms is an incisive study of popular culture in the sixteenth century as seen through the eyes of one man, the miller known as Menocchio, who was accused of heresy during the Inquisition and sentenced to death.

May 14, Graychin rated it liked it. Ginzburg’s discovery of Menocchio is a dazzling entry into the historical world of popular culture.

We know enough, however, to look more closely at the cathedral of Western Christendom, to notice the cracks in its foundation and in its stained glass, cracks that seemed to but did not really appear and suddenly crumble in the Enlightenment. Choose binding Paperback E-book. History books about Italy books Anthropology books Counter-Reformation. Because of the first, a simple miller had dared to think of speaking outof voicing his own opinions about tne Church and the world.

The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller – Carlo Ginzburg – Google Books

Menocchio focuses of Joseph being the father of Christ. After 2 years Menocchio wrote and asked for a pardon.

All’inizio, l’autore presenta il suo concetto di storia dal basso e il suo metodo di lavoro. Biography and memoirsBiographyEuropeSouthern EuropeItaly, Religion and theology. Ginzberg used the story of Menocchio, a sixteenth century miller who was twice prosecuted and ultimately condemned by the inquisition for holding and preaching egregiously heretical beliefs.


Exhaustive analysis of Menocchio’s library reveals a highly creative and individual reading of the few texts at his disposal, raising the question to what extent they can be understood as “sources transmitting” ideas in any straightforward way. Sure, he 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 own conclusions regarding their contents, rather than those the clergy so dogmatically thrust upon them.

Many of these views were held by Anabaptists in the Friuli in the mid-century; Menocchio may have been in contact with such groups, though this cannot be proved. In his defense, the lack of pages comes not from a lack of research, but from a limited information pool — it seems that too many documents have been lost to time. Beyond Menocchio, Ginzburg is able to give inklings about the 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 the 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 helped forge one man’s opinion.

Yet even Ginzburg is unable to sketch the contents of this oral culture in any detail. The Cheese and the Worms is ultimately a demonstration of our own limitations when we attempt to reconstruct the views of marginally-literate dissidents from previous centuries. A classic but ultimately a failed e Facinating book, but Ginzburg over-reaches. From Mandeville, Menocchio extracted the view that there were good men in all religions: For me, it was more boring than I care to admit.

Menocchio claimed that he did not believe in the gospels. It’s easy to recommend this book to my friends who share an interest in the period of the Renaissance and share the worry that our societies all too often want to destroy not just silence dissent. Want to Read saving….