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Power in the Blood

Power in the Blood
Popular Culture and Village Discourse in Early Modern Germany


  • Date Published: March 1988
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521347785

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • This book offers a substantial reassessment of peasant society and popular culture in early modern Europe. The book is based on a series of episodes from village or small town life of the duchy of Württemberg in southwest Germany from 1580 and 1800, in which state authorities conducted a special investigation into local events. The cases and characters involved include peasants' refusal to celebrate church rituals; a self-proclaimed prophet who encountered an angel in his vineyard; a thirteen-year-old witch; a paranoid pastor; a murder; and the live burial of a village bull. Each case offers vivid insights into the state's attitude towards local communities and individuals, and the latter's conception of the state, as well as internal relations among the villagers. Throuhgout, the important but ambiguous role of the church and of religious ideology in the reformation and transformation of popular culture is made apparent.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This work represents a large step in the direction of the sort of integrated social history for which we should all be striving. Sabean's aims are ambitious; only someone who had been immersed for decades in early modern peasant life could have written this book.' Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    'This book is one of the richest and most suggestive works in German social history I have ever read - not only for its treatment of substantive developments in Central Europe but, more significantly, for its major contributions too the current study of premodern European popular culture.' German Studies Review

    'This book is important because it is one of the very few significant examinations available in English of early modern German popular culture and mentalities … Subtle and informative, Sabean' presentation holds one's attention and makes one think.' Canadian Journal of History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1988
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521347785
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Communion and community
    2. A prophet in the Thirty Years' War
    3. The sacred bond of unity
    4. Blasphemy, adultery and persecution
    5. The conscience of the poor
    6. The sins of belief
    General index
    Index of places.

  • Author

    David Warren Sabean, University of California, Los Angeles

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