Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath
[Ginzburg] charms by mixing the historic with the horrific, with writing in a way that creates page-turners out of scholars and general readers alike. Ginzburg . . . is a kind of necromancer, calling up the spirits of the dead to thrill us and to speak to us of marvels.--Wendy Doniger "Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance" Ginzburg's learning is prodigious and his journey through two thousand years of Eurasian folkore a tour de force.--Keith Thomas "The Observer" Ginzburg here partially rehabilitates an older point of view, that the witch-cult represented a survival of ancient mysteries, the practice of shamanistic ceremonies forbidden by official Catholicism. Ecstasies offers the result of Ginzburg's researches, in chapters as replete with odd learning and lore as Robert Graves's White Goddess. --Wendy Doniger "Washington Post" By any standards, Ecstasies is a bravura performance. It is difficult to think of any other historian who combines such polymathic cultural erudition, grasp of textual and visual detail, and high theoretical aim-not to mention literary skill. --Wendy Doniger "London Review of Books" At times, Ecstacies can be demanding. . . . But persist, and you will be rewarded with truly haunting stories and speculations.--Michael Dirda "Barnesandnoblereview.com" Ecstasies manages, with extraordinary candor, clarity, grace, and erudition, to steer between lurid sensationalism and dry-as-dust academic drivel, and between purely localized historiography and universalism. This is a big, bold, brilliant book.--Wendy Doniger "New York Times Book Review" Ecstasies is a work of uncompromising scholarship and erudition, but it is not intended for the scholar alone. It is also a rich tapestry of anecdote and incident, a chamber of horrors, curiosity shop, and medieval bestiary all in one.--Keith Thomas "Guardian"
Carlo Ginzburg is the Franklin D. Murphy Professor of Italian Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Cheese and the Worms, The Night Battles, and Myths, Emblems, and Clues. Raymond Rosenthal (1922-2002) received the Present Tense Award for his translation of Primo Levi's The Periodic Table and was twice nominated for the National Book Award for his translations.