Tarantism and Ethnological Parallels: Notes on the Land of Remorse and Research on Ritual Possession Today

  • Paolo Pecere University of Roma Tre


In this contribution, I present some considerations on the historical and ethnographic parallels with tarantism proposed by De Martino in the “Historical Commentary” of the Land of Remorse. Firstly, by researching the sources of these parallels, I show how De Martino shared several ideas on ritual possession with contemporary French ethnologists such as Michel Leiris and Alfred Mètreaux but elaborated them differently concerning the fundamental question of overcoming the crisis of presence. Secondly, I present some considerations on the possible development of those parallels in the contemporary world, formulating some hypotheses on the status and dynamics of possession cults.