Walking by Night
This book describes the ideological, intellectual, and literary role of ghost stories in early modern French culture. The sixteenth century in France witnessed a fundamental change in the way ghost stories were conceived. In medieval culture, ghost narratives had served as ideological instruments for Church teaching: they fostered a bringing together of the communities of the living and the dead. With the advent of Reformation, however, this view of ghosts came
under strain. Alongside religious ghost narratives there began to emerge a whole series of stories written from rival perspectives (legal, medical, anthropological, and literary)¾ a body of writing
largely ignored by modern scholarship. This book provides a survey of this writing, within which we begin to recognise elements of modern ghost stories: the narrative setting of the 'haunted house', embodied revenants, and titillating stories of sex with the dead. In so doing it provides a new glimpse into the beliefs, fears and desires of a deeply troubled age.