The author describes his research experience in the 1960s as an apprentice historian in the Warburg Library. His work on witchcraft trials in early modern Italy, he argues, was deeply affected by the library’s unique character. Aby Warburg’s law of the “good neighbor” (the book we need is placed next to the one we are looking for) is illustrated through a specific example: the encounter with a forgotten tract dealing with some anomalous Bavarian witchcraft trials — a book that would have been very difficult (if not impossible) to come across anywhere but Warburg’s Library.
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Carlo Ginzburg; Une Machine à Penser. Common Knowledge 1 April 2019; 25 (1-3): 285–291. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-7299378
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