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An Elizabethan Lawyer's Possession by the Devil: The Story of Robert Brigges
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An Elizabethan Lawyer's Possession by the Devil: The Story of Robert Brigges (Hardback)

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During April 1574, an aspiring London barrister named Robert Brigges was possessed by Satan. For three weeks, Brigges shouted, raged, and sobbed; suffered from sensory deprivations; and engaged in impassioned disputes with his invisible adversary. Although Brigges's case was considered significant in its time, it is virtually unknown today, with modern scholars rarely mentioning and never analyzing it. The case, however, is very unusual-perhaps unique among English cases-in its first-person, spontaneous, highly detailed documentation of the afflicted person's experience and in its sociocultural details. Sands challenges the prevailing notion that cases of early modern English demon possession occurred only among the socially impotent. The manuscript sources of this episode (published here for the first time) bombard the reader with an accretion of detail that is never connected to any broad assertion of what really happened, never connected to any larger historical significance. It is this connection that Sands's study aims to establish through an analysis of the cultural context of Brigges's experience.

The case affords us a rare glimpse into the dark, private, unedited side of an intelligent, articulate, educated, early modern mind. A serious attempt to understand the workings of that mind requires us to understand and accept (for the purposes of analysis) the concepts that furnish it. Only through this approach can we hope to bridge the cultural gap between that mind and ours-thus experiencing, even if only momentarily, the common humanity of present and past.

Mind, Body & SpiritUnexplained phenomena / the paranormal Publisher: ABC-CLIO Publication Date: 30/09/2002 ISBN-13: 9780275978372  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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KATHLEEN R. SANDS taught university literature and history for many years and currently develops educational programs for museums and historic sites.

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