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They flew : a history of the impossible  Cover Image Book Book

They flew : a history of the impossible / Carlos M.N. Eire.

Eire, Carlos M. N., (author.).

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780300259803
  • ISBN: 0300259808
  • Physical Description: xviii, 492 pages : illustrations, 25 cm
  • Publisher: New Haven ; Yale University Press, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Introduction: huge claims, vague proof -- Part one. Aloft -- 1. Hovering, flying, and all that: a brief history of levitation -- 2. Saint Teresa of Avila, reluctant aethrobat -- 3. Saint Joseph of Cupertino, shrieking aerial ecstatic -- 4. Making sense of the flying friar -- Part two. Here. . .and here too -- 5. Transvection, teleportation, and all that: a brief history of bilocation -- 6. María de Ágreda, avatar of the impossible -- 7. The trouble with María -- Part three. Malevolent --8. Tricksters of the impossible -- 9. Protestants, deviltry, and the impossible -- 10. The devil himself -- Epilogue: vague logic, leaps of faith -- Appendix 1: Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century bilocators in America and Europe -- Appendix 2: The emergence of the "lady in blue" legend: a chronology.
Summary, etc.:
"Accounts of seemingly impossible phenomena abounded in the early modern era-tales of levitation, bilocation, and witchcraft-even as skepticism, atheism, and empirical science were starting to supplant religious belief in the paranormal. In this book, Carlos Eire explores how a culture increasingly devoted to scientific thinking grappled with events deemed impossible by its leading intellectuals. Eire observes how levitating saints and flying witches were as essential a component of early modern life as the religious turmoil of the age, and as much a part of history as Newton's scientific discoveries. Relying on an array of firsthand accounts, and focusing on exceptionally impossible cases involving levitation, bilocation, witchcraft, and demonic possession, Eire challenges established assumptions about the redrawing of boundaries between the natural and supernatural that marked the transition to modernity. Using as his case studies stories about St. Teresa of Avila, St. Joseph of Cupertino, the Venerable María de Ágreda, and three disgraced nuns, Eire challenges readers to imagine a world animated by a different understanding of reality and of the supernatural's relationship with the natural world. The questions he explores-such as why and how "impossibility" is determined by cultural contexts, and whether there is more to reality than meets the eye or can be observed by science-have resonance and lessons for our time"--Dust jacket.
Subject: Levitation.
Flight > Religious aspects.
Mysticism > Christianity.

Available copies

  • 1 of 2 copies available at Bibliomation. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Woodbury Public Library.


  • 1 current hold with 2 total copies.
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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Woodbury Public Library 133.8 EIRE (Text) 34018156018410 Adult New Nonfiction Available -

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