Exorcising our Demons: Magic, Witchcraft and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe


Author: Charles Zika
This collection of sixteen essays deals with the role of magic, religion and witchcraft in European culture, 1450-1650, and the critical role of the visual in that culture. It covers the relationship of humanism and magic; the intersection of religious ritual, orthodoxy and power; the discursive links between the visual language of witchcraft and contemporary anxieties about sexuality and savagery.
The introductory chapter urges us to exorcise our tendency to reduce historical experiences of the demonic to forms of unreason created in a distant past. Only then can we understand the role of the demonic in our historical definition of the self and the other. Richly illustrated with 112 images, the book will interest historians and art historians.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Charles Zika is Associate Professor of History at the University of Melbourne. He has published widely on magic, religion, witchcraft and visual culture in the sixteenth century, which includes Johannes Reuchlin und die okkulte Tradition der Renaissance (Thorbecke, 1998) and edited Dürer and his culture (Cambridge, 1998).
'Z.'s "reading" of visual images is exceptionally precise and a useful model for cultural historians and art historians alike. Equally compelling is Z.'s approach to religion, for him a category embracing belief, thought, doctrine, practice, rite, and institution.'
Virginia Reinburg, Theological Studies, 2004.
'The essays are brimful of original ideas interesting questions and thought-provoking statements. They convincingly demonstrate that for early modern people magic and witchcraft were no mere flights of fance, but yet another mirror through which to look at their society. These studies contribute to an important discussion about significant developments in the history of late medieval and early modern European culture.'
Maria Craciun, Sehepunkte, 2005.
'The extraordinary breadth and high quality of the scholarship united in this volume is sure to be of great interest and use to scholars across the humanities and social sciences...The text itself is beatifully presented ad richly illustrated with 112 high quality reproductions.'
Katherine Dauge-Roth, Sixteenth Century Journal, 2005.
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Demons and Histories

1. Reuchlin’s De Verbo Mirifico and the Magic Debate of the Late Fifteenth Century
2. Reuchlin and Erasmus: Humanism and Occult Philosophy
3. Agrippa of Nettesheim and his Appeal to the Cologne Council in 1533: The Politics of Knowledge in Early Sixteenth-Century Germany
4. Hosts, Processions and Pilgrimages: Controlling the Sacred in Fifteenth-Century Germany
5. The Reformation Jubilee of 1617: Appropriating the Past in European Centenary Celebrations
6. Fears of Flying: Representations of Witchcraft and Sexuality in Sixteenth-Century Germany
7. She-man: Visual Representations of Witchcraft and Sexuality
8. Dürer’s Witch, Riding Women and Moral Order
9. The Wild Cavalcade in Lucas Cranach’s Melancholia Paintings: Witchcraft and Sexual Disorder in Sixteenth-Century Germany
10. Body Parts, Saturn and Cannibalism: Visual Representations of Witches’ Assemblies in the Sixteenth Century
11. Fashioning New Worlds from Old Fathers: Reflections on Saturn, Amerindians and Witches in a Sixteenth-Century Print
12. Cannibalism and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Reading the Visual Images
13. Appropriating Folklore in Sixteenth-Century Witchcraft Literature: The Nebelkappe of Paulus Frisius
14. Writing the Visual into History: Changing Cultural Perceptions of Late Medieval and Reformation Germany
15. Nuremberg: The City and its Culture in the Early Sixteenth Century

Index of Names
Index of Places
Index of Subjects
All those interested in the history of magic, witchcraft and popular religion in Europe, or in the role of images and visual culture for understanding the past.