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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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A classic but ultimately a failed excercise. Only in the present generation have historians like Robert Mandrou and Peter Burke seriously attempted to ascertain what was going on beneath the surface.

The Cheese and the Worms

Popular religion and the Counter-Reformation. He also probably read the Koran, of which an Italian translation appeared in Venice in 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. This was done for reasons both moral the genuine desire for spiritual improvement and political the destruction of Protestantismand there is often much overlap between these categories.

For a more compelling historical biography of the era, see Joel F. What this demonstrates is that the peasant culture within Montereale saw this man named Menocchio as a harmless thinker, breaching subjects which were frightening because of the wrath of the Catholic Church yet intriguing. Jun 29, Nick rated it really liked it. The second level of this book is Ginzb This book, emblematic of the sub-genre of microhistory, is actually two stories simultaneously playing out on two levels.

That last piece of peasant shrewdness was enough: A school was opened at the beginning of the sixteenth century under the direction of Girolamo Amaseo for, “reading and teaching, without exception, children of citizens as well as those artisans and the lower classes, old as well as young, without payment.

The Cheese and the Worms

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Aside from very positive reviews, one of the reasons I read this book is that Menocchio the book’s central character lived about 30 kilometers from my hometown which could logically be the “unknown place in Carnia” where he was exiled.


He writes a letter to the judges to ask for his forgiveness. Professor Ginzburg stresses that the peasant culture existed in its own right, and was not merely the cast-off ideas of a higher culture. Oct 08, Cynthia rated it liked it Shelves: Oct 13, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: It’s made a huge splash in The Study of Old Things, though, so I’m not surprised it gibzburg showed up in a class of mine on the reading list.

The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller.

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. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The title comes from this miller’s idea of the beginning of the universe; that it kind of curdled, like cheese, into being, and the angels came out of it like worms.

Or perhaps I’ll name Ok, I’m leaving the rating at 3,5 stars.


I liked it all right. This was a shift in the metaphor from geographical to social.

A medieval legend that greatly affected Menocchio. Tolerance, respect for the views of others, seems to have been one of the ideas for which Menocchio sought confirmation from his reading.

And of course, his belief that man has “seven souls, two spirits and a body”, his social rebellion against the priests who “sell merchandise” his personal judgement on the various sacraments, make ahd a highly original character. The book examines the beliefs and world-view of Menocchio —also known as Domenico Scandella, who was an Italian miller from the village ajd Monterealetwenty-five kilometers north hceese Pordenone.

This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. The Cheese and the Worms: Menocchio’s literacy may be accounted for by the establishment of schools in tthe villages surrounding Friuli: Ginzburg describes another miller living at the same time in the mountains of Modena who had similar heresies to Menocchio.


April Learn how and when to remove this template message. 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. This is a microhistory of a sixteenth century Italian miller, whose cueese beliefs brought him to the attention of the Inquisition. Want to Read saving….

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

Based on the testimony from Menocchio’s second trial these books also are known to have been read. He was sent to prison for the rest of his life. Now, if only I had more of an interest in Baroque Italian history. The period he works with is particularly apt for such explorations of individuals, specifically because the vinzburg both Catholic and Lutheran precisely start losing control over the individual at this point. The implication of this statement—and the cascade of vitriol that follows it—is that the peasantry are more susceptible to spiritual seduction than the elite, who are armed with their educations.

Il formaggio e i vermi is a scholarly work by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg. They offer as much of a clue as what people chsese believed as the writings of a Luther or Zwingli and an insight with its images of mouldy cheese and God as master builder with sub-contracted angels creating the world into just how divergent the reception of ideas could be.

Ginzberg uses his story to attempt to reveal what ideas were floating around in the general peasant population concerning the reformation and Catholic and protestant doctrine.