The Possession at Loudun

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9780226100357: The Possession at Loudun

It is August 18, 1634. Father Urbain Grandier, convicted of sorcery that led to the demonic possession of the Ursuline nuns of provincial Loudun in France, confesses his sins on the porch of the church of Saint-Pierre, then perishes in flames lit by his own exorcists. A dramatic tale that has inspired many artistic retellings, including a novel by Aldous Huxley and an incendiary film by Ken Russell, the story of the possession at Loudun here receives a compelling analysis from the renowned Jesuit historian Michel de Certeau.

Interweaving substantial excerpts from primary historical documents with fascinating commentary, de Certeau shows how the plague of sorceries and possessions in France that climaxed in the events at Loudun both revealed the deepest fears of a society in traumatic flux and accelerated its transformation. In this tour de force of psychological history, de Certeau brings to vivid life a people torn between the decline of centralized religious authority and the rise of science and reason, wracked by violent anxiety over what or whom to believe.

At the time of his death in 1986, Michel de Certeau was a director of studies at the école des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris. He was author of eighteen books in French, three of which have appeared in English translation as The Practice of Everyday Life,The Writing of History, and The Mystic Fable, Volume 1, the last of which is published by The University of Chicago Press.

"Brilliant and innovative. . . . The Possession at Loudun is [de Certeau's] most accessible book and one of his most wonderful."—Stephen Greenblatt (from the Foreword)

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In August 1634, a French priest named Urbain Grandier was convicted of sorcery and burned at the stake. His accusers held that he had brought the devil into the Ursuline nunnery of Loudon, and had there committed acts in violation of human and divine law--to say nothing of his priestly vows.

The possession at Loudon has provided the storyline for plays, novels, and films, but it has received little historical scrutiny. In this slender essay, the late Jesuit historian Michel de Certeau examines the possession in the context of the larger contemporary struggle between medieval values and the dawning Enlightenment. As he points out, during the eight years when the possession and its attendant trials and exorcisms were unfolding as a kind of morality play, Descartes published his Discourse on Method, and science and religion met on countless ideological battlefields. The era, he notes, was marked by plague, economic and social dislocation, and a general atmosphere of fearfulness, ideal for rituals of scapegoating and expiation. Certeau draws on several techniques of the Annales school of historians, examining the minutiae of the Loudon trials--including, for instance, a payment voucher to the woodcutter who provided the timber for Grandier's immolation--and remarking that the hysteria that visited the little town of Loudon points to "the strangeness of history." --Gregory McNamee

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At the time of his death in 1986, Michel de Certeau was a director of studies at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris. Of his many books, The Practice of Everyday Life, The Writing of History, and Heterologies: Discourse on the Other are available in English translation.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. It is August 18, 1634. Father Urbain Grandier, convicted of sorcery that led to the demonic possession of the Ursuline nuns of provincial Loudun in France, confesses his sins on the porch of the church of Saint-Pierre, then perishes in flames lit by his own exorcists. A dramatic tale that has inspired many artistic retellings, including a novel by Aldous Huxley and in incendiary film by Ken Russell, the story of the possession at Loudun here receives a compelling analysis from the renowned Jesuit historian Michel de Certeau. Interweaving substantial excerpts from primary historical documents with fascinating commentary, de Certeau shows how the plague of sorceries and possessions in France that climaxed in the events at Loudun both revealed the deepest fears of a society in traumatic flux and accelerated its transformation. In this tour de force of psychological history, de Certeau brings to vivid life a people torn between the decline of centralized religious authority and the rise of science and reason, wracked by violent anxiety over what or whom to believe. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780226100357

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. It is August 18, 1634. Father Urbain Grandier, convicted of sorcery that led to the demonic possession of the Ursuline nuns of provincial Loudun in France, confesses his sins on the porch of the church of Saint-Pierre, then perishes in flames lit by his own exorcists. A dramatic tale that has inspired many artistic retellings, including a novel by Aldous Huxley and in incendiary film by Ken Russell, the story of the possession at Loudun here receives a compelling analysis from the renowned Jesuit historian Michel de Certeau. Interweaving substantial excerpts from primary historical documents with fascinating commentary, de Certeau shows how the plague of sorceries and possessions in France that climaxed in the events at Loudun both revealed the deepest fears of a society in traumatic flux and accelerated its transformation. In this tour de force of psychological history, de Certeau brings to vivid life a people torn between the decline of centralized religious authority and the rise of science and reason, wracked by violent anxiety over what or whom to believe. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780226100357

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. It is August 18, 1634. Father Urbain Grandier, convicted of sorcery that led to the demonic possession of the Ursuline nuns of provincial Loudun in France, confesses his sins on the porch of the church of Saint-Pierre, then perishes in flames lit by his own exorcists. A dramatic tale that has inspired many artistic retellings, including a novel by Aldous Huxley and in incendiary film by Ken Russell, the story of the possession at Loudun here receives a compelling analysis from the renowned Jesuit historian Michel de Certeau. Interweaving substantial excerpts from primary historical documents with fascinating commentary, de Certeau shows how the plague of sorceries and possessions in France that climaxed in the events at Loudun both revealed the deepest fears of a society in traumatic flux and accelerated its transformation. In this tour de force of psychological history, de Certeau brings to vivid life a people torn between the decline of centralized religious authority and the rise of science and reason, wracked by violent anxiety over what or whom to believe. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780226100357

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Book Description Univ of Chicago Pr, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 266 pages. 9.00x6.25x0.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0226100359

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