Long out of print, Jules Michelet's classic study of medieval superstition has been reprinted in this edition to bring the general public's attention to one of the truly great sociological works of modern times. Michelet brilliantly recreates the Europe of the Middle Ages, the centuries of fierce religious intolerance, the Inquisition and the Auto-da-fe. He depicts the feudal barons, the great manors, the fiefs and serfs. and the witches, hobgoblins and wizards of whom the masses lived in mortal fear. Michelet draws flaming word pictures of the witch hunts, the Black Masses, the reign of Satan, and the weird rites of the damned. Here is the age of unbridled pleasure and sensuality, of luxury beyond imagination and squalor beyond endurance. Here is the time when a girl might be accused of witchcraft merely if she were young and pretty and did not survive the test of immersion in water or boiling oil. Here is the day of beatings, floggings, tortures and summary decapitations.
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(born Aug. 21, 1798, Paris, Francedied Feb. 9, 1874, Hyres) French nationalist historian. He taught history and philosophy before he was appointed head of the historical section of the Record Office in 1831. His time there provided him with unique resources for his life's work, the 17-volume Histoire de France (183367). His method, an attempt to resurrect the past by immersing his own personality in his narrative, resulted in a historical synthesis of great dramatic power, though the 11 volumes that appeared from 1855 to 1867 are distorted by his hatred of priests and kings, hasty or abusive treatment of documents, and mania for symbolic interpretation. His other works include the vivid and impassioned Histoire de la rvolution franaise, 7 vol. (184753). In his later years he wrote a series of lyrical books on nature, displaying his superb prose style.
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