Pastoral Demonology

Timothy Chesters

in Ghost Stories in Late Renaissance France

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599806
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723537 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Pastoral Demonology

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The first part of this chapter is devoted to Ludwig Lavater's Von Gespaenstern, a treatise on ghosts which became enormously influential in France following its translation into French (1571). A detailed account is provided of the life and career of the author, of the strategy of his first publishers, and of the text itself. An example of what might be termed ‘pastoral demonology’, Lavater's text sets out above all to wrest control of lay spiritual experience from the priestly prerogative of discretio spirituum. It is argued that out of this attempt emerges, for the first time in European culture, that narrative category now recognisable as the ‘haunted house’. The second part of the chapter is devoted to Noël Taillepied's reply to Lavater, the Psichologie, ou trois livres de l'apparition des esprits (1588). Taillepied's curious plagiarism of Lavater suggests in the end that the two opponents may have more in common than they think.

Keywords: demonology; pastoral care; Lavater; Taillepied; haunted house; priest; inversion

Chapter.  17301 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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