I'm not sure if I liked it. Because in a way, you know, it's kind of romantic to think that we're all predestined to be with someone, no matter what,I'm not sure if I liked it. Because in a way, you know, it's kind of romantic to think that we're all predestined to be with someone, no matter what, and that even after they're gone we'll go on loving them right to the end. On the other hand, that's pretty fucking depressing. My grandfather died in the '70s and my grandmother never got over it, and sure it's a little romantic that there will never be anyone else for her -- but at the same time, she's one of the loneliest, most unhappy people that I know, and I don't think any love is worth that. But of course that's exactly what the story sells: the idea that it's better to be really, really happy for only a short time than to be just okay forever. I don't believe that, and because I don't believe that, I was never quite sold on the story.
That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. It was very well-executed, and it completely broke my heart. But in the end, I disagree so fundamentally with the message of the book that it just made me uncomfortable. I wanted to come out of it with my faith in love reaffirmed, or something, but I just ended up more depressed than I was going in. Though maybe that was the point. I don't know....more
Re-read January 18, 2010. I don't like this book any more on re-read, which is a shame, as my supervisor loves it. In an overly subtle argument (whichRe-read January 18, 2010. I don't like this book any more on re-read, which is a shame, as my supervisor loves it. In an overly subtle argument (which I will admit to not having got the first time, and probably only understand now because NT explained it to me), Bossy argues that in the fifteenth century, "Christianity" encompassed a society of believers who were united through belief and the practice of ritual; but that by the end of the seventeenth century, "Christianity" was, instead, a collection of societies that were delineated less by practice and more by the written, printed and spoken word, and were united less through ritual than through a collected awareness of the ideas (expressed through words) that marked their unique corner of Christian society. A compelling argument, but utterly exhausting to read. Expects a high degree of familiarity with Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anabaptist (and other radical reform groups) theologies -- which I have, but oh my god so exhausting to puzzle through, as Bossy seems to think (for example) that the ridiculousness of a Ranter catechism (p. 114) is self-evident....more
Liked this book far less on re-read. Too much emphasis on telling the story of Giovanni and Lusanna, and too little on exploring the vagaries of the FLiked this book far less on re-read. Too much emphasis on telling the story of Giovanni and Lusanna, and too little on exploring the vagaries of the Florentine judicial system. Assumes that some kind of objective historical truth can be found between the pages of these legal records, when in fact their creation was an act of fabrication in itself. Brucker was wrong, I think, to discount Kuehn's criticism that he [Brucker:] is reading his own prejudices and assumptions into sources that may contain less truth, and certainly more embroidering, than he initally accounted for. [October 5, 2009:]...more
More descriptive than anything. A study of the procedure of judicial executions in early modern Germany, but a bit too presentist: yes, these executioMore descriptive than anything. A study of the procedure of judicial executions in early modern Germany, but a bit too presentist: yes, these executions were cruel and unusual by modern standards, but seems to ignore the greater early modern distinction between temporal suffering and eternal suffering, which almost leaves the cruelty of such punishments an afterthought....more