“A peasant and a knight have risen in response”: An Examination of the Frontispiece of Melchior Ramminger’s Pamphlet Commenting on the Diet of Worms

Activity: Invited talk or paper presentationInvited talk (e.g. Keynote or guest speaker)


Conference Paper

"Jonathan Trayner, Southampton Solent University

The reflected subject: prints as talismanic objects in early modern Europe

One of the points of contention in the discussion of the role of the printed pamphlet in the political and religious conflicts of the early modern period is the extent to which the text penetrated the popular consciousness especially in contexts of limited literacy. The view of many current scholars of the period is that the huge amount of printed material produced circulated mainly in the cities and did not impact on the construction of political subjectivity among the rural commons or provide a significant inspiration for revolts such as the German Peasants’ War. This position makes considerable sense when confined to the text included in the pamphlets, that could only be orally communicated to the non-literate audience. However, it does not adequately address either the presence of the image or the pamphlets’ symbolic and material function as objects that embody the ideas presented in their oral communication. This paper will discuss these ideas drawing on other contexts of rural revolt – such as Ranajit Guha’s examination of peasant resistance to colonial rule in nineteenth century India – popular ideas of the magico-religious role of the image and object, and the symbolic value of the images present within the texts, to readdress the idea that these prints had a talismanic embodying function as objects quite apart from their written content."
Period27 Oct 2023
Held atSixteenth Century Society
Degree of RecognitionInternational