The Emperor’s Boot, or: Perceiving Public Rituals in the Urban Reformation

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This article explores the sensory experience of the audience for urban public rituals in the Reformation period. Based on the microhistorical analysis of a shoemaker’s chronicle, it demonstrates how perception was formed by factors such as the social and occupational habituation of the senses, sensory impairment, reading and oral communication, and theological teaching. The intersections of these influences in the embodied experience of the individual, the argument runs, needs to be taken into account in an interpretation of ritual change and, more generally, of the premodern urban public.