(1,041 words)

Fundamental publications on the history of mentality have led to a widespread belief that the early modern period was notably an age of anxiety and uncertainty. Terms like witchcraft mania and witchcraft hysteria underline the view that life just before the period of the Enlightenment was lived in an atmosphere of irrational fear. The Reformation itself and the emergence of competing Confessionalization are interpreted in the literature as processes that evoked not just a general feeling of insecurity but every imaginable fear and anxiety—naturally …

Cite this page
Naphy, William, “Anxiety”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 16 January 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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