Auto-Da-Fé

Entertainment / Literature / Auto-Da-Fé: (Portuguese, 'act of faith'--equivalent to Span. Auto-de-fe) The late medieval church's ceremonial execution en masse of accused witches, Jews, heretics, or Muslims--often performed by burning at the stake. In literature, such scenes become stock material for gothic novels (e.g. Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, Poe's 'The Pit and the Pendulum'). In Voltaire's Candide, Pangloss and Candide are nearly burned to death in such a ritual after Pangloss argues about theology with an Inquisitorial familiar (i.e., a spy).

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