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Il formaggio e i vermi: Il cosmo di un mugnaio del '500
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Il formaggio e i vermi: Il cosmo di un mugnaio del '500

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,948 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Gli studiosi di storia hanno da tempo appreso che la storia è storia degli uomini, non dei «grandi», e che quando è possibile arrivare fino alla realtà quotidiana, meglio si decifra il passato, fino a coglierne con senso di immediatezza i problemi, le connessioni con l'oggi, la storia. In questo libro, Carlo Ginz-burg ci dà l'analisi della visione del mondo di un mugnaio f ...more
Paperback, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi. Storia #465, 196 pages
Published September 4th 2009 by Einaudi (first published 1976)
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Fantastic study based on trial records of a sixteenth century Italian miller charged with heresy. The book offers a glimpse into an alternative (and generally unheard from) world-view that is full of so much imagination on the part of the miller that it should put many a fiction writer to shame.

That really is its strength and virtue, to be a reminder that the masses of people that now we label as Lutheran, Catholic or Anabaptist were a mess of individuals. While the beliefs of the hierarchies ca
Non dite di conoscere l’Italia, se non siete mai andati a mangiare in trattoria.

Partiamo col dire che non è un ricettario a base di prodotti caseari, tramandato dai nostri avi.
Quindi abbandonate il grembiule e mettetevi comodi.
Ma non troppo comodi, scordatevi l’amaca e il mojito in mano. Piuttosto scrittoio e appunti, preceduti dalla visione di qualche vecchia cassetta di “Un giorno in pretura”.

Trattasi infatti degli atti realtivi a un processo giudiziario del ‘500.
Scordatevi però che riguardi
As a medievalist, I run across this book all the time, which is funny considering it's not really a medieval book (it's more Renaissance/early modern). It's made a huge splash in The Study of Old Things, though, so I'm not surprised it finally showed up in a class of mine on the reading list.
So, the gist of the story (and it really does read like a story, which is kind of neat) is Ginzburg following the trials by the inquisition (no, not the one you didn't expect, another one) of a miller for be
This book is so hyped in academic circles, that it was perhaps setting itself up as a disappointment before I even cracked it open. I'm sure for the right type of history major (that is, one that's interested in actual events in history rather than their theoretical importance) this is a revelation. For me, it was more boring than I care to admit. I couldn't care about the miller Menocchio anymore than I care about any other random individual on the street. Sure, he was uncommonly literate, and ...more
The Cheese and the Worms is a ground breaking exposé into the field of microhistory and remains a foundational work for historians today. Ginzberg used the story of Menocchio, a sixteenth century miller who was twice prosecuted and ultimately condemned by the inquisition for holding and preaching egregiously heretical beliefs. As a miller and a literate man, Menocchio had a greater exposure to people and ideas than the average peasant-farmer, and apparently also a keen intellect which he used to ...more
I've never had the pleasure of reading about such a well-documented life of any regular person that had lived before the 1800s before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is something beautifully egalitarian about the very idea of such an approach, but what makes the book truly fascinating is Ginzburg's ability to paint an image of the wider early Modern peasant society based on this story of a single person. The period he works with is particularly apt for such explorations of individuals, speci ...more
This is a microhistory of a sixteenth century Italian miller, whose heretical beliefs brought him to the attention of the Inquisition. Ginzburg uses the records of his trial to examine his personal theology and cosmology, and to examine to what extent we can recover a pre-modern "popular culture." I thought it was a more sophisticated attempt at a microhistory than The Return of Martin Guerre; Ginzburg approaches his sources with more subtlety and with more awareness of the dangers of pre-concei ...more
Carlo Ginzburg looks at detailed records from the Roman Inquisition trial of a sixteenth century miller named Menocchio whose heresies include the rejection of the divinity of Christ, the rejection of the idea of Virgin Birth, and an interesting cosmogony in which in the beginning all was chaos out of which emerged a mass "just as cheese is made out of milk--and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels, and among that number of angels there was also God, he too having been created out of ...more
Aug 25, 2014 Rana rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: idiots
this guy goes on for 150+ pages about ALL the possible explanations for this random peasant thinking that the world was formed from chaos like the way cheese coagulates. then he's like the collective unconscious is an "unacceptable" explanation like wtf this whole book is dumb and this guy wasted his time writing it and the translators wasted their time translating it. it's literally written like "well the miller may have gotten his ideas from THIS SMALL, FAR OFF CHRISTIAN EXTREMIST GROUP becaus ...more
I had a lot of fun while reading this book. That may sound like a weird thing to say considering that this is a work of history and a nonfiction but the author has such a way of analyzing the inner workings of the poor unfortunate miller's mind that it reads almost like a mystery novel in many places. He keeps proposing theories, asking questions: how could Menocchio have come to believe this or that?, where could he have goten his strange and often ridiculous ideas in his head from?. I often fo ...more
Seward Park Branch Library, NYPL
This mirco-history concerns the life and times of one Domenico Scandella, a miller known as 'Menocchio', who was put on trial during the Inquisition for conceiving of and promulgating a blasphemous cosmos in a town of the north-eastern Italian state of Friuli. The central metaphor of his cosmic fantasy is 'the cheese and the worms', or, more to the point, the relationship between the cheese and its 'spontaneous generation' of worms.

Menocchio was a literate peasant (a rarity) so it's tempting to
Andrew Fairweather
This mirco-history concerns the life and times of one Domenico Scandella, a miller known as 'Menocchio', who was put on trial during the Inquisition for conceiving of and promulgating a blasphemous cosmos in a town of the north-eastern Italian state of Friuli. The central metaphor of his cosmic fantasy is 'the cheese and the worms', or, more to the point, the relationship between the cheese and its 'spontaneous generation' of worms.

Menocchio was a literate peasant (a rarity) so it's tempting to
Mark Bowles
Blind Alley?: The books meanings were distorted by Menocchio. His oral culture was the filter for all of his reading
* Temple of the Virgins: Example of a detail in a book becoming the central issue for Menocchio
* Funeral of the Madonna: Again Menocchio overemphasizes the dishonor of Mary and misinterprets the story
* The Father of Christ: Menocchio focuses of Joseph being the father of Christ.
* Judgment Day: Menocchio believes that mans relationship to man is more important than his relationship
Luciana Darce
E começamos mais um mês e mais um tema do Desafio Literário 2011. Os livros que escolhi dessa vez passam todos pelo mesmo tema e, claro, não se trata de uma coincidência: investigações históricas.

Iniciamos então com o pé direito, com o absolutamente delicioso O Queijo e os Vermes de Carlo Ginzburg. Esse livro está na minha lista de leituras desde a época do colégio, continuou lá durante a faculdade e esperou ainda mais um pouco até que um belo dia chega um pacote da Régis com ele no meio. Ia com
Facinating book, but Ginzburg over-reaches. There are many reasons why Menocchio may believe what he seems to believe. He may not have actually read the books he says he did. He may not have understood what he was reading very well due to limited literacy or not being able to read the dialect his books were in. All these are more likely than Menocchio tapping into a primeval Indo-European peasant tradition of pantheism untouched by Roman or Christian religion. A classic but ultimately a failed e ...more
An interesting microhistory, though perhaps not the best example of the genre. This may be a reflection on my own historical interests, which do not align exactly with the subject matter probed here, for I would have hoped for (much) more discussion of theoretical complexities and perhaps even a greater examination of Menocchio's unique cosmology. Instead, having been told that this unusual and literate miller has a fascinating version of the creation of the world, the focus then shifts to the m ...more
This is a book that I would recommend to both historians and regular readers; it is short (the written parts are only about 128 pages, with many notes in the back for more academically-inclined readers), and the content is very interesting and easy to read. There are a few minor problems that keep me from giving it five stars, which I will list at the last paragraph of this review.

The Cheese and the Worms is a surprisingly interesting book that contains multiple important points:

First of all, th
Soobie's heartbroken
Questo libro è stata una sorpresa.

L'ho preso in mano perché avevo partecipato ad un incontro con il regista Alberto Fasulo e lui avevo parlato del suo prossimo progetto cinematografico, appunto un film sul Menocchio. Il nome mi era familiare perché, tutto sommato, vivo ad una quindicina di chilometri da Montereale; ma non avevo la minima idea di cosa avesse combinato per essere ricordato a cinquecento anni di distanza.

Fasulo ha cominciato il suo racconto citando un articolo di The New Yorker, qu
This microhistory classic doesn't explicitly make a case that it is a form of bearing witness, but that is how it functions. The miller Menocchio clearly thought deeply about theological issues that a man of his class was expected not to engage with and he couldn't stop himself from expressing them and arguing his case, even though it ultimately cost him his life. This book seems to be a recognition of his struggle and is affected for that reason. The book is also an argument for the persistence ...more
What a delightful book. It does tend to be highly speculative, and I sometimes questioned the methodology. (Why is Ginzburg so confident that he knows when Menocchio is or isn't telling the truth on trial? Why does he find it so plausible that he might have read an Italian translation of the Qur'an? And so on.) But I wouldn't rate it down for that. Ginzburg is very transparent about his research in such a way that even a non-specialist reader can feel caught up in a search for the answers. And a ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
This is one of those books that gets talked up by history professors, etc, but also comes in for some criticism of the academic sort that I just don’t care about. I liked it all right. The subject matter – and the subject himself (Domenico Scandella, a miller who was burned at the stake as a heretic in the 16th century) is fascinating. But there’s a relative dearth of information on the trial and the man, and Ginzburg gets to repeating himself a lot. For a more compelling historical biography of ...more
Replace the theology department with 'Cheese and Worms' studies.
A different kind of book that attempts to reconstruct the life, thoughts and perspectives of a miller who lived in sixteenth century. The author attributes the seemingly unique perspective of a miller living in rural Italy to peasant subculture by presenting with various arguments and evidences. As dry as it may sound, the book has a superb narrative mixed with many information on the peasant culture of pre industrial Europe and the literature of the masses. Overall it was a very interesting and ...more
Michael Quinn
Carlo Ginzburg dives into a different kind of history than the one we may be used to in his 1976 book The Cheese and the Worms. Ginzburg uses various sources and trial records of a man known as Menocchio, to show a mentality different from the mainstream popular mentality of others like him at his time. What Ginzburg uncovers through his discovery is a well read and incredibly interesting man who worked as a miller in the popular culture of Italy in the 16th century, and resisted the ideas of t ...more
O.K. Carlo - I am sorry, but your book 'The Cheese and the Worms' was a chore to finish. I was expecting something along the lines of 'A World Lit Only by Fire,' or like 'A Distant Mirror,' but instead I got an excruciatingly detailed analysis of the reading habits and religious thought processes of a 16th century Miller. I did learn a few things – like the fact that, apparently, a person interrogated by the Inquisition could retain legal counsel and might even have a chance of getting off easy ...more
Frank Stein

An interesting look at the heresy trial of an unknown Italian miller named Menocchio, who had his own very distinctive ideas about the world and God that landed him in trouble with the Church.

Menocchio believed that the world was originally a mass of "chaos" which slowly coagulated and out of which God and the angels came "like worms from cheese." In his view, God became almost a pantheistic part of the world that he created, inhabiting every tree, person, rock, and human. "We are all God," Men
Erik Graff
Dec 03, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: microhistory fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Having thought of myself as someone who would become an historian during high school and college, and having been thereby exposed to the discipline and those works considered normative in several areas of historical study, I have come to much appreciate the growth of "history from the bottom up", i.e. social histories concentrating on the life ways of ordinary people. This is not only because it corrects for the traditional imbalance promoted by a concentration on political history, but also bec ...more
Though not my typical pick, this book (read for my Honors class) demonstrates the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic Church during the Baroque Period. As a miller in an isolated village in Italy (Montereale), a literate peasant explores the elements of Christianity with an unwittingly pantheistic bend. His conclusions range from being considered Lutheran, Anabaptist, atheist, Muslim, pantheist, and pagan. Despite his anomalous approach to religion his village finds him an amiable personality, fai ...more
Sep 02, 2010 Victoria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Victoria by: Prof. Kenney
Shelves: history, christianity
The Cheese and the Worms was very interesting on a personal, pleasure-reading, level. Ginzburg does a fantastic job recreating the world of Menocchio, the 16th century miller, while also still telling of his plight in a very narrative fashion that was engaging.

On the other hand, I feel that Ginzburg has met mixed success in supporting some of his claims. I think he goes a good job of backing up his point that there was certainly not a top-down only creation of culture during the 16th century but
A current private study of mine is the exploration of changes in consciousness, psychological world-structure and experience, wrought by the modern industrial age (there's a political motivation to this, but that'd be long essay. You could think Marcuse, Benjamin, John Berger, Subcommandante Marcos...).

This book is a great example of close historical investigation and reconstruction. Menocchio, the miller in the title, was tried twice and tortured for heresy, and the extensive documentation of
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Born in 1939, he is the son of of Italian-Ukranian translator Leone Ginzburg and Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg. Historian whose fields of interest range from the Italian Renaissance to early modern European History, with contributions in art history, literary studies, popular cultural beliefs, and the theory of historiography.
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