Malleus Maleficarum

It’s not as cool as it sounds.

The Malleus Maleficarum is a 15th century text on the danger presented by witches, how to figure out if a woman (as witches are more generally women, per the text), and what to do about them. As you might suppose from the time frame, the instructions did not include, “Give them a hug,” or even, “Ask them how their day is.” The name of the book is generally translated as, ‘The Hammer of Witches’, and its treats the subject with according gentility.

Obviously, I don’t bring this up to advocate you go strip and shave your English teacher on account of thinking she be a witch, a fair precaution according to the Malleus. Instead, and please, for Pete’s sake don’t anyone go assaulting a teacher, I bring it up to show the power of writing, namely the power in its longevity. Because this treatise was written down, published, and preserved an entire phase of history is lifted from obscurity to easy scrutiny. We need not look back at the events and wonder what they were thinking. They have told us, and the text stands where they cannot, being physically dead, to testify of their rationale and methods.

In this way, the authors live forever. In the same vein, Shakespeare breathes and spouts verse to this day, in literature courses, theater stages, and outdoor festivals. Are we not all intimately familiar with Steinbeck, Whitman, and Thoreau? Bless his heart, Solzhenitsyn trudges on. Things are still, and likely always will be, falling apart for Achebe. Into the infinite void, Asimov and Adams plumb the depths of space. And we all know Anne, Stephen, and Clive haunt the shadows of our dreams to this day.

Do we not as authors hope for this same thing? We toil and slave over our creations in the hopes that they will be read, appreciated, disseminated, and preserved. Our work is intended to go on, to remain after we have gone. Authors, let your writing be up to this weighty task! Write! Expand! Live for today! Live forever!

Hmph, look at us, chasing after immortality. We must be witches.

12 comments Posted 2010-04-08 Author: THX 0477


  • blusparrow (LoA)

    lol i sense a new lingo for ficly

    Write! Expand! Live for today! Live forever! Ficly!

    Nice inspiration THX. I do want to leave my mark on the world, I guess that is part of the reason why I write.

  • HSAR

    My favourite quote regarding this:

    “When affection and interest are over, nothing but sterling excellence can preserve your name.” – Benjamin Haydon

    And I agree heartily with both the quote above and this article.

  • chris Chris chris

    I would have to disagree with this article, mainly because you spelt teacher t-e-a-c-h-e-r when it is really supposed to be spelled t-e-a-c-h-e-r. Nice try though.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    spelt isn’t a word.

    sarcasm lost.

    Disagreement annulled.

    And as for my comment, I do agree. The road is long to immortality, however. The best we can hope for is to touch the lives of those we write with, and for, here.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    oh i get it now, you are taking out your personal vendetta against commenters who only correct grammar!!
    Rather than note a person and ask them to see past it and tell you what they really think of your piece or sequel.

  • Mr.Gabriel

    I sometimes hope that only good authors live.

    Because usually the overrated authors are the ones that never seem to die!

    P.S. for Chris’ comment. You need to chill out. What could you possibly expect in a writing site?

  • Mighty-Joe Young (A.K.A Strong Coffee)(LoA)

    Chris Chris Chris if i were my old self i would let loose a tyrade about how “those without the gift of creativity think they can find redemption in the minutia of grammer” or some blazen insult. However this is the new and improved me who wants to say welcome to ficly, AND GET A FREAKIN PIC FOR CHRISTS SAKE.
    @Grandmaster nice article, elequant uplifting and all together inspiring.

  • chris Chris chris

    See even when I take the opposite point of view people disagree with me. I can never win on this site. I was being sarcastic and if you really think that way Might-Joe Young than I think you might enjoy my story School. Those are my real thoughts.

  • N. Robertson

    Agree. Did you intend a question mark on the first sentence of the penultimate paragraph? I think it could work either way.

    @bluesparrow I think the word would actually be slogan or motto. The vibe is clear, though, don’t worry. (I can’t be blamed for my nitpicking anyway. I picked it up from THX.)

  • THX 0477

    Thanks for the nitpick, N. Robertson. It does read better that way, and getting the comment reminds to, in the future, pay closer attention to how I have structured my sentences. Nice catch.

  • Paige Elizabeth

    I thought this blog entry was rather wonderful and have shared it with the members of my writing group.

  • BARomero

    Of course, witches are detected by seeing if alleged witch weighs the same as a duck. Everyone knows that.