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1762 - Inquisition Manual Referenced by Edgar Allen Poe

1762 - Inquisition Manual Referenced by Edgar Allen Poe


When Edgar Allen Poe sought a truly horrible volume in The Fall of the House of Usher, he named the Directorium Inquisitorum of 14th century Inquisitor Nicholas Eymerich.  However, Poe refers to the volume in Octavo and not the massive folio of the Directorium - this is the very volume he was referring to!  André Morellet published this volume to reveal the horrors of religious based persecution:  the presumption of guilt and even demonic possession of suspected heretics, instructions for deceiving suspects into confessions that meant excruciating death and detailed instructions for when and how to apply torture that could only end in just those confessions.  To share his disgust and contempt for what he took as the worst excesses of the medieval religious depravity, he published excerpts of the Inquisitors’ manual in 1762.  The men of the Enlightenment referred to the text as a “monument of atrocity and ridiculousness” and Voltaire realized that Candide should have gone on to kill many more than one Inquisitor.  Alongside the horrible Malleus Malefiarum, the work of the 14th century Catalan Inquisitor Nicholas Eymerich came to represent absolute horrors of human cruelty manifest by religious dogma run amok.  Indeed, it took none less than Mein Kampf to steal this Satanic throne from Malleus and the Directorium of Eymerich, here abridged by Morellet.  An important work in the history of witchcraft, religious persecution, the Enlightenment and even for Edgar Allen Poe!


1762. Le Manuel des Inquisiteurs. André Morellet (1727-1819). Lisbon. 198 pp. Original calf, decorated in gilt. Missing leather to spine, faded title.  Blanks marbled, with red and gilt pages. Solid binding with clean pages, one page with tear repair. Featured in Esoterica Episode! Rare.

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