Virginia Krause

VIRGINIA KRAUSE, Associate Professor. Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Research interests focus on Renaissance literature, particularly early modern romance and the history of leisure.  Published works include Idle Pursuits: Literature and 'oisiveté' in the French Renaissance (2003) and a number of articles exploring topics ranging from medieval chivalry to contemporary theory, particularly Michel Foucault.  Professor Krause is currently completing a book examining the role of confession in early modern witch trials and the demonological literature that grew out of these trials titled Witchcraft and confession in Early Modern France.  In early modern France, witches were denounced by neighbors and scrutinized by specialists, but the singularity of the early modern French witch was that she confessed, self-identified as a witch, as the first-person agent of horrifically implausible deeds.  What led her to this point? Despair, solitude, perhaps even physical pain, but most decisively, demonology’s two-pronged prosecutorial and truth-seeking confessional apparatus.  Situated at the crossroads of history and literary studies, this project examines how confession was extracted, interpreted, and disseminated by early modern French demonologists—specialists of the so-called science of demons.  At the same time, it seeks to understand this process from the point of view of the accused who ultimately confessed to implausible crimes that never took place, thereby becoming a "witch" in the language of early modern demonology.  In tandem with this interpretive project, Professor Krause is finishing a critical edition (with Christian Martin and Eric Macphail) of Jean Bodin's De la démonomanie des sorciers (1580). >>More Information

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