Carlo Ginzburg and Ernesto De Martino

  • Marcello Musté University of Rome "La Sapienza"


Ever since his 1963 review of The Land of Remorse, published in the journal “Il centro sociale”, Ernesto De Martino has always represented a fundamental reference point for Carlo Ginzburg’s historiography. The article reconstructs the various passages of an original interpretation, which mainly concerns The Magic World and, with the important discussion promoted in 1979 by the “Quaderni storici”, The End of the World. There is no lack of critical aspects and grounds for detachment, such as those relating to the concepts of “cultural circulation” and the “ethos of transcendence”. In addition to the judgement on De Martino’s writings, the article considers the influence exerted in the construction of Ginzburg’s major historical works, in particular on The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and the theoretical chapters of Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath.