In the press
“In this book, Armando Maggi offers a series of very original and provocative readings of important Renaissance treatises that discuss different facets of the ‘familiar spirits.’ Each analysis is thought-provoking and enlightening, and often entertaining. But then, in an act worthy of a Renaissance magus, Maggi interconnects all his different readings into a completely new and original understanding of the essence of demonic spirits and their relations with humans. Weaving together disparate discussions of demons, language, identity, and desire, he uncovers for his readers a Renaissance in which familiar spirits were not marginal figures, but the very embodiment of what it meant to be human.”--Richard Kieckhefer, Northwestern University
— Richard Kieckhefer
“Armando Maggi’s In the Company of Demons is a major contribution to the redefinition of Renaissance demonology as a protoscientific discipline, comparable in rigor to Renaissance anthropology, psychology, anatomy, and physiology. Maggi brilliantly demonstrates how Renaissance demonologists ‘read’ the demonic body and its interactions in search of a positive role for demons. By interweaving Classical pagan lore with medieval Christian ideas about the existence, nature, and habits of evil spirits, the Renaissance sought evidence of divine compassion and human salvation among beings traditionally spurned by theologians. Essential reading for anyone needing to understand Christian—and post-Christian—demonology.”--Walter Stephens, The Johns Hopkins University
— Walter Stephens
“Armando Maggi has a genius for displaying the astonishing range and character of Renaissance demonology, far from its earlier exclusively Satanic character. In this marvelous book Maggi considers angels, demons, satyrs, incubi, succubi, and other ‘familiars’ in the work of sixteenth-century thinkers in terms of both their natures and their functions of teaching, warning, protecting, and loving humans. Identified in the distant pagan past and transformed by the incarnation of the Word, they even participate in the process of human salvation. Far beyond thought or speech, Maggi’s subject is the mayhem caused by an explosion of spirits, some enemies, all familiars.”--Edward Peters, University of Pennsylvania
— Edward Peters
“In his new and fascinating book, Armando Maggi tries to understand the strange world of Renaissance demonology without dwelling on its obvious absurdities. . . . His aim is not to psychoanalyse but to sympathize, and his method is to enter into the spirit (so to speak) of this strange world.”
— Neil Forsyth, TLS
“Maggi gives us an original and penetrating interpretation of Renaissance demonology, with a brilliant analysis and with a challenge to the reader for deeper thoughts on a theme that attracts scholars, but still has some new views.”
— Michaela Valente, Renaissance Quarterly
"An extremely thought-provoking book of considerable interest to historians of Christianity, witchcraft, and the Renaissance; to literary scholars; and to theoreticians of metaphor and simile."
— Jeffrey Burton Russell, Christianity and Literature
"An innovative and erudite study that sheds light on a series of cultural issues, such as demons' existence, appearance, and contact with humans."
— Andrea Marculescu, H-Net
"A valuable book. Certainly Maggi's ideas and methodology are engaging! Maggi's insistence on the rhetorical construction of demonic-human relationships and the compulsive need, even love, of spiritual beings for humans shouild force scholars of early modern demonology, folklore, religion, and culture to reexamine the role of language in these areas."
— Kathryn A. Edwards, Sixteenth Century Journal