When you can use quotes from the book to support your statements, do. Paraphrase them (that is summarize them) or quote the text in full. Do be precise and include simple footnotes whenever you cite the book.
Answer ALL of the following:
1. Why and how did Menocchio end up at the stake? Who and what circumstances got him there? Consider both trials and Menocchio’s life in Montreale.
2. Ginzburg is quite critical of previous attempts to analyze “popular culture” and define its relationship to elite culture. (xiv-xviii) What does he condemn in the analyses of Mandrou & Bolleme? What does he hate about the“the history of mentalities” (xxiii) and the ‘history of collective psychology?” How do previous approaches fall short for Ginzburg?
3. In the Preface, Ginzburg longs for a study of peasants which is “very direct and … free from intermediaries.” (xviii). Has he produced such a study? Do we hear Menocchio without distortion or interference speaking to us from across the centuries? Who are the intermediaries who distort or shape Menocchio’s speech and how do these do so?
4. We need to see if Ginzburg & his fellow micro historians live up to their claims for microhistory. Is the Cheese & the Worms “interesting?” Does it focus on the “normal exception?” Does it sufficiently contextualize Menocchio by investigating his family, community & so forth? Does it adequately and convincingly connect the micro to the macro?
5. The Cheese & the Worms has been the subject of a play but never a film. Why do you think this is the case? Were you to produce a play or a film based on the book, who would you choose to play the lead, that is Menocchio?
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