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Thomas Wroblewski

Thesis: Demonic Possession, Embodiment, and the Life-Cycle in Early Modern England and France.

My research looks at the print culture surrounding the demonic possession of children and adolescents in England and France, c.1550-c.1650. My project examines how possession narratives were utilised as vehicles of political or religious propaganda and that they were essential to pan-European conceptualisations of the body as a gendered entity, publicly constructed through widely-circulated print. I focus on specific case studies, such as those of Madeleine de Mandols and Marthe Brossier in France and William Somers and Mary Glover in England, and situate them within a broader print culture consisting of possession reports, political and religious pamphlets, exorcist manuals, personal testimonies, medical treatises and demonological writings. This literature transcended national boundaries and despite the predominantly Catholic angle of the French material it was often translated and distributed in English shortly after its publication in France. Despite this, such material has rarely been studied comparatively. My approach examines the dissemination and translation of these reports, combining linguistic and textual analysis with emerging methodologies from the history of emotions, and the history of science, technology and medicine. 


Expected submission date

  • September 2018

Funding awards

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP) doctoral studentship
  • President’s Doctoral Scholar

Research interests

Early Modern France and England, Demonic Possession, Witchcraft, Demonology, History of science medicine and technology, Print Culture, Gender History, and History of Emotions.

Conference presentations

'The Sabbath Eroticised: Exploring Sexual Deviance and Morality in Early Modern French Demonology', Talking Bodies: Identity, Sexuality, Representation conference at the University of Chester (31st March – 2nd April, 2015).

Additional information

I studied for my undergraduate degree in History here at the University of Manchester. In my third year I became interested in demonology and gender history and wrote my dissertation, under the supervision of Dr. Jenny Spinks, on sexuality in early modern French demonology. I graduated with first class honours in 2013. I subsequently spent a year working as a language assistant in France before taking up the Gender and History scholarship for the inaugural year of the MSc in Gender History at the University of Glasgow before returning to Manchester for my doctoral studies.

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