The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, University of Strathclyde, 1993

By Graham Caie; Roderick J. Lyall et al. | Go to book overview

DANIEL FISCHLIN


40. ‘Counterfeiting God’: James VI (I) and the
Politics of
Dæmonologie

In introductory comments to his edition of the Malleus Maleficarum Montague Summers argues that ‘Witchcraft was inextricably mixed with politics’ (v). The Malleus, published in 1484 by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, two of the inquisition’s foremost prosecutors and both Dominican monks, pieces together a patchwork of the many political, religious, and personal anxieties associated with the construction of the witch in the late fifteenth century. In this document, formulated out of obscure legalistic and Scriptural arguments, perhaps the most revealing historical material lies in the anecdotal evidence of witches’ activities collected by Kramer and Sprenger and unevenly disseminated through the length of the document. A form of narrative derived from oral popular culture founds many of the key evidential moments in the Malleus, moments in which its legal and Scriptural arguments are given their basis in material reality by virtue of fictional anecdotes passed off as legitimate testimony. The legal and juridical structures at the centre of the Malleus are intricately related to those marginal anecdotes that validate the larger discursive structures of the document.

One such anecdote, intertextually linked with humorous fabliau narratives, evokes many of the issues that circulate through the historical and literary discourses associated with witchcraft:

And what, then, is to be thought of those witches who… sometimes collect male
organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put
them in a bird’s nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like
living members, and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter
of common report? It is to be said that it is all done by devil’s work and illusion,
for the senses of those who see them are deluded in the way we have said. For a
certain man tells that, when he had lost his member, he approached a known
witch to ask her to restore it to him. She told the afflicted man to climb a certain
tree, and that he might take which he liked out of a nest in which there were
several members. And when he tried to take a big one, the witch said: You must
not take that one; adding, because it belonged to a parish priest. (121)

It is revealing that Kramer and Sprenger saw fit to include this passage as evidence, however preposterous, of witches’ activities in the dry legal context usually associated with canonical lawmaking. Perhaps the most noticeable anxiety in the passage relates to possession – in this case of the phallus, symbol both literal and figurative of male sexuality and empowerment. The threat of witches emanates from their power to dismember male sexuality, their control

-452-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, University of Strathclyde, 1993
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 544

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.