Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds

Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds


By (author) Darren Oldridge

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  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 228mm x 18mm | 360g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415404924
  • ISBN 13: 9780415404921
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: 10 black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 410,741

Product description

Strange Histories presents a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European and North American history and explains how they made sense to people living at the time. From grisly anecdotes about ghosts, to stories of witches and werewolves, the book uses case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period and provides fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It shows how such occurences fitted in quite naturally with the "common sense" of the time and offers explanations of these riveting and ultimately rational phenomena. What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? This question and many more are answered in the fascinating book.

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Author information

Darren Oldridge is a lecturer in history at University College Worcester. He is the editor of The WItchcraft Reader.

Review quote

"Darren Oldridge's fascinating study of witches, angels, werewolves, heretics, persecution, and justice in the late medieval and Renaissance period is extraordinary because it is so contemporary, provocative, and insightful. By focusing on how reasonable and logical the belief systems of this historical period were, Oldridge compels readers to re-examine how we have arrogantly judged deeply held beliefs as superstitions and barbaric. Moreover, he suggests that we take a closer look at our own mores, values, and behaviors that are 'strangely' not much different from those of the late medieval and Renaissance period. His historical and cultural anthropological investigation reveals that our assumptions about the intolerance and absurd ideas of the past need to be critically re-examined if we are to deal with our own 'strange' behavior in the present." - Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota

Table of contents

1. Introduction 2. Angels on a Pinhead 3. They Hang Horses, Don't They? 4. The Roaming Dead 5. A Shipwreck of Souls: Understanding Witchcraft 6. Werewolves and Flying Witches 7. Raptures and Forbidden Words 8. Suffering Saints 9. The Case for Killing Heretics 10. Conclusion: The Edge of Wonder