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Title: 'Eating love magic' : another case of locating female visibility in 18th-century Malta?
Other Titles: The Roman Inquisition in Malta and elsewhere
Authors: Buttigieg, Noel
Keywords: Magic, Maltese
Love -- Malta -- History
Sex role -- Malta -- History
Inquisition -- Malta -- History
Malta -- Church history
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Heritage Malta Publishing
Citation: Buttigieg, N. (2017). 'Eating love magic': another case of locating female visibility in 18th-century Malta? In M. Abdilla Cunningham, K. Cassar & G. Vella, (Eds.), The Roman Inquisition in Malta and Elsewhere. Conference Proceedings (pp. 134-145). Malta: Heritage Malta Publishing.
Abstract: Early modern culture generated an ambivalent mental image of women. Women were split in two categories - the 'good' [obedient, hard-working, non-sexual], and the 'bad' [frivolous, erotic]. Official institutions, including the Holy Office, contributed significantly towards this cultural construct, defining the expected societal beliefs and behaviour women had to adhere to. These males dominated governing bodies clamped the female figure in a mould which shaped and conditioned the female mind and body. Natalie Zemon Davis and Arlette Farge encapsulate this mindset claiming how the Church manoeuvred about to " ... contain women and was guided by the desire to make her presence a sort of absence or at least to make her presence discreet." Against this background, the criminal proceedings of the Tribunal of the Holy Office in early modern Malta throw interesting light on the meanings associated with the practice of love magic by married women in reaction to their difficult husbands. So far, several Maltese researchers employed love magic criminal proceedings to prove both the 'invisibleness' of women in early modern society, and the lack of romance in marriage. Therefore, it would be interesting to explore other facets of these love magic trials. Could it be that love magic cases of this type reflect a female behaviour reacting to the importance of marriage as a means to exert influence within the domestic sphere? Furthermore, what is the meaning of the use of food in such cases when distraught wives tricked their husbands to 'eat magic'? Finally to what extent were the decisions, taken by the various Inquisitors with regards to these women, void of the need to consider the female attempt to uphold family values?
ISBN: 9993257397
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - InsTTC

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