In the 1820s, the name Cockaigne came to be applied jocularly to London, as the land of Cockneys, and thus “Cockaigne”, though the two are not linguistically connected otherwise. The composer Edward Elgar used the title “Cockaigne” for his concert overture and suite evoking the people of London, Cockaigne (In London Town) (1901). The Dutch villages of Kockengen and Koekange were named after Cockaigne. The surname Cockayne also derives from the mythical land, and was originally a nickname for an idle dreamer. Like Atlantis and El Dorado, the land of Cockaigne was a utopia, a fictional place where, in a parody of paradise, idleness and gluttony were the principal occupations. In Specimens of Early English Poets (1790), George Ellis printed a 13th-century French poem called “The Land of Cockaigne” where “the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing.”
According to Herman Pleij, Dreaming of Cockaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life (2001):
“roasted pigs wander about with knives in their backs to make carving easy, where grilled geese fly directly into one’s mouth, where cooked fish jump out of the water and land at one’s feet. The weather is always mild, the wine flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth.”
Cockaigne was a “medieval peasant’s dream, offering relief from backbreaking labor and the daily struggle for meager food.” The Brothers Grimm collected and retold the fairy tale in Das Märchen vom Schlaraffenland (The Tale About the Land of Cockaigne). A Neapolitan tradition, extended to other Latin-culture countries, is the Cockaigne pole (Italia: cuccagna; Spanish: cucaña), a horizontal or vertical pole with a prize (like a ham) at one end. The pole is covered with grease or soap and planted during a festival. Then, daring people try to climb the slippery pole to get the prize. The crowd laughs at the often failed attempts to hold on to the pole.
One might ask whether it is valid to distinguish between popular and learned beliefs, or whether it might not be reasonable to assume that the learned and unlearned classes in early European society held witch beliefs that were substantially identical. Indeed, it is likely that popular culture had many features in common with learned tradition, and was subject to constant influence from it. There were numerous possibilities for contact and exchange between the literate and illiterate classes. Parish priests, and perhaps merchants and other groups, might stand midway between the two extremes; they were frequently from the lower or middle classes, and remained constantly in touch with these classes, yet at the same time they were exposed to the beliefs of cultured individuals. Sermons and plays could readily serve as media for popular dissemination of originally learned notions. Hansen suggested that he theatrical devils of the medieval stage influenced popular notions of how devils act. Even woodcuts could fulfill a similar function so long as there was someone on hand to interpret their representations in the intended sense. The scandal aroused by trials for witchcraft might in itself spread learned notions about witches among the populace, whose presence at the executions would be a matter of common occurrence. In one instance the number of spectators at an execution was estimated between six and eight thousand; even allowing for exaggeration, there must have been many people present, and many of them must have known the specific crimes to which the subject had confessed. During the sixteenth century, when extended series of witch trials occurred in many communities, it would be odd indeed if these notions failed to permeate the people at large.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
Now Available $54.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pages 197 pages
- ISBN-10: 1943820058
- ISBN-13: 978-1943820054
ONLY 2 COPIES LEFT!
Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!
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