Mining the rich Venetian archives, especially the unusually detailed records of Venice's own branch of the Roman Inquisition, Guido Ruggiero provides a strikingly new and provocative interpretation of the end of the Renaissance in Italy. In this boldly structured work, he develops five narrative accounts of individual encounters with the Inquisition that illustrate the double-edged metaphor of how passions were both bound by late Renaissance society and were seen in turn as binding people. In this way new perspectives are opened on magic, witchcraft, love, marriage, gender, and discipline at the level of the community and beyond. Witches, courtesans, prostitutes, women healers, nobles, Cardinals, and renegade priests and monks speak from these pages describing their lives, beliefs, hopes, fears, and lies. With an imaginative flair for storytelling and impeccable scholarship, Ruggiero exposes the rich complexity of the culture and poetics of the everyday at the end of the Renaissance and illuminates a previously unexplored chapter in Italian history.