02 Brief: Reading Notes

So if I am sharing some of my research readings why not over-share bit? Why not include the books I am also reading? It might just motivate me to write brief reviews on Amazon or the like.

So, I guess I’d better list and speak about the current pile of books on the bedside table prior to posting any related Internet researches spawned from these readings. I normally keep two or three books at the ready and switch between them. Both of the 16th century books came to my collection from their relationship of Augsburg and the areas culture. I am writing a story about an alchemist’s apprentice from Augsburg. Which may explain why I love B. Ann Tlusty’s books and articles I had mentioned in the previous post.

current books from the top

So far, so good. “Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night” by Wolfgang Behringer is a very, very fun book. I am reading the English edition that comes in at a little light of a 200 page count. This book benefits from it’s fantastic translation by late and brilliant Professor H. C. Erik Midelfort (a fellow I have a few books from in the old reference library).

The story is centered on a factual situation based on church reports, civil court transcriptions, and city council documents from the 16th century. It seems that one night after a bit too much wine had been liberated from the bottle, the head Horse Wrangler of Obersdorf, a man named Chonrad Stoeckhlin (1549-1587) and his friend Jacob Walch a local Ox herder made themselves a little deal. This agreement ended up in the form a contract, which held that whomever of two friends should die before the other shall return to the land of the living and tell the other what is to come in the realm of the great thereafter. An intriguing topic, which happened more often than one might think- this was not even the first I had heard of such agreements between people of the Early Modern Period.

The interest thing is that Jacob dies some eight days after agreeing to the contract and then on February 20th, 1578, according to Stoeckhlin, Jacob comes back for the first of several visits to his old pal Chonrad.

Chonrad was not too shy or fearful enough to not talk about his contact with a spirit and later an angel. These visitations shape and redefine how his faith was and what his worship looked like (so far, it doesn’t look like anything warranting a burning at the stake about- but we shall see). These experiences or stories of Chonrad also seems to have placed him on a path of direct collision with either the Catholic and/ or the Reformer(s) leadership with their religious ‘justice’ …..which of course included torture and execution (this whole tale is set during the deadly Witch hunt craze in late 16th to the early 17th centuries).

I am only at the beginning of this book. I am reading it aloud to my partner Heidi as a (very German and sleep inducing) bedtime story for her and a cool read for me. I was turned on to this book due to my interest in and exposure to the period Italian folktales given by Carlo Ginzburg in his work “The Night Battles: Witchcraft & Agrarian Cults in the 16th & 17th century“.

I sure hope this book is what I thought it might me when I first read the back of the cover:

A narrative of the related events, as laid out by primary sources (the reports and documents from the interviews and interrogations). It could be like B. Ann Tlusty‘s book “Augsburg During the Reformation Era” with all of the surround data and context given while following the “actors” along.

As a head’s up, reading this book aloud will take quite a lot of time to complete compared to other items. But I’ll be sure finish this review up later in another Update post after I finish reading it to Heidi.

The next book on the current pile, “Women and Family Life in Early Modern Literature” by Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre will be entered in a separate update.
I want to keep these notes brief. They should short, sweet, and on topic. If it is a book review you’re after, and the date this Reading Note was posted was a long time ago, go to Amazon, I will post a review there as soon as I finish the book.

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