Mark Knights. The Devil in Disguise. Deception, Delusion, and Fanaticism in the Early English Enlightenment. Oxford University Press, 2011.

The following review was published in Seventeenth-Century News , [2012] Vol.70, Nos. 1&2, pp. 33.37.

Mark Knights. The Devil in Disguise. Deception, Delusion, and Fanaticism in the Early English Enlightenment. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. xxi + 279 pp. $55.00.  Review by KARIN SUSAN FESTER, UNIVERSITY OF WALES, TRINITY SAINT DAVID.

Mark Knights in his extraordinary work challenges the commonly held assumption that the English Enlightenment began among the intellectual elite during the seventeenth century. According to Knights the English Enlightenment had its roots in the dynamics of local and personal struggles. The Cowper and Stout families, and the local Quaker community in Hertford, England are the focus of this historical account set against the background of the two British revolutions. The book is structured around three dramatic trials: Spencer Cowper’s murder trial [1699], the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell [1710], and Jane Wenham [1712]. Revolutionary change is the essence of this book as it recapitulates the local tragedy, conflict, and political and religious resistance—catalysts—which all eventually influenced the broader political, social and moral cultures of England during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Knights supports his micro-historical analysis with original manuscripts, judicial records, images, meticulous notes and references. Throughout the work the author also builds on the political ideas expressed by various writers and philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. […] READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

By Karin Susan Fester (c) 2012


What have I been doing?

I’ve been quite busy writing lately, because it’s the season of the White Truffle here in Piedmont, Italy…

For truffles sake… the elusive Tartufo Bianco

Every morning when I wake up and look out the window all I see is a thick white curtain of fog hanging over the hills.  This is October.  Cold damp nights are typical, and the sun is out smiling for only one or two hours in the afternoon—a stark contrast to the summer months.  Every day I can’t wait ’til noon arrives because it is only then when the fog finally seems to be rolling back. But sometimes it doesn’t.  You simply have to get used to it.  Around six o’clock in the evening the dark clouds start to build up again in the sky and the all too familiar cold dampness returns.  Though for me, October, despite its dreary days, has a special meaning:  the truffle hunting season is in full swing.

To read more go here >

Posted by Karin Susan Fester (c) 2012