SiStan ChapLee

Friday, September 20, 2013

Witches and/or She-Doctors

Michele Ruggiero, Streghe e diavoli in Piemonte [Witches and Devils in Piedmont, N-W Italy], Turin: Editrice Piemonte in Bancarella, 1971, pages 190, with 18 pictures. This is just one out of a billion books on such issues, though at that time, more than forty years ago, it was presented as the first complete essay on supernatural folklore in that geographic area. What makes this kind of field research interesting is the big amount of data, sometimes showing phenomena that can be found almost identical almost everywhere throughout Europe, and even farther; sometimes describing very local traditions that are far more enjoyable than much 'learned' fantasy literature. The materials here listed prove very valuable for a better understanding of Dante, Ariosto, Tasso, all the way up to CS Lewis, with their points in common and their differences.

The main flaw in Michele Ruggiero's book is a (so-called) Enlightenment attitude, defending witches by discrediting them: poor, fool, crazy, hysteric women . . .  A much deeper insight is provided by the more recent study here below, stressing the ancient and fundamental role of wicca culture from the age of Pharaohs to Renaissance.

Erika Maderna, Medichesse. La vocazione femminile alla cura [She-Doctors: The Woman's Vocation to Health Care], Sansepolcro, IT: Aboca, 2012, pages 144, with 45 pictures, euros 19.50