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Catholic Culture in Early Modern England

Catholic Culture in Early Modern England

Edited by Ronald Corthell, Frances E. Dolan, Christopher Highley, and Arthur F. Marotti

This collection of essays explores the survival of Catholic culture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England—a time of Protestant domination and sometimes persecution. Contributors examine not only devotional, political, autobiographical, and other written texts, but also material objects such as church vestments, architecture, and symbolic spaces. Among the topics discussed in this volume are the influence of Latin culture on Catholic women, Marian devotion, the activities of Catholics in continental seminaries and convents, the international context of English Catholicism, and the influential role of women as maintainers of Catholic culture in a hostile religious and political environment.

Catholic Culture in Early Modern England makes an important contribution to the ongoing project of historians and literary scholars to rewrite the cultural history of post-Reformation English Catholicism.

Contributors: Ronald Corthell, Frances Dolan, Christopher Highley, Arthur F. Marotti, Peter Davidson, Jane Stevenson, Sophie Holroyd, Caroline Hibbard, Gary Kuchar, Heather Wolfe, Molly Murray, Anne M. Myers, Mark Netzloff, Catherine Sanok, and Donna B. Hamilton.

“This collection contains cutting-edge research on a topic that has, until recently, been shockingly unrecognized and under-studied in the academic mainstream. This is a timely publication and one bound to prove a key point of reference in the future.” —Alison Shell, University of Durham

“In recent years, English Catholicism has emerged as one of the most richly provocative and productive veins of scholarship and critical inquiry in Early Modern studies. Catholic Culture in Early Modern England shows why this is so. The editors have assembled a well-balanced and wide-ranging collection of essays that impressively demonstrates how the question of what counts as English Catholic experience opens up fresh perspectives on the nature and scope of confessional and political identity and, more broadly, on the meaning of culture itself in relation to the diaspora that left its mark not only on early modern religious and social space but also on gender roles, aesthetic practice, and the uses of symbolic forms.” —Lowell Gallagher, UCLA

“Catholic Culture in Early Modern England is a well-considered contribution to the ongoing re-evaluation of post-Reformation English Catholicism and early modern history. The judicious introduction appropriately locates the essays in the wider context of contemporary scholarship and places them in relation to each other. The essays themselves shed light on familiar figures (Queen Henrietta Maria, William Alabaster, John Gerard, William Allen, and Robert Persons) as well as on unfamiliar ones (Helena Wintour and Barbara Constable). Some illuminate Catholic institutions, cultural practices, and individual works. All in all, this is a timely, thoughtful, and valuable collection.” —Robert S. Miola, Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor, Loyola College

“English Catholics lived among their Protestant neighbors, but they had cultural practices that identified them as Catholics, gave them a sense of community, and quietly asserted their values. These articles do a fine job of opening up the mental and physical worlds they created and represented in their gardens, houses, needlework, conversion narratives and high literature. Tied to international Catholicism, English Catholics lived within a sophisticated culture made more complex by secrecy.” —Norman Jones, Utah State University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02294-5
336 pages
Publication Year: 2007

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Ronald Corthell is chair of the department of English at Kent State University.

Frances E. Dolan is professor of English at the University of California at Davis.

Christopher Highley is associate professor of English at Ohio State University.

Arthur F. Marotti is professor of English at Wayne State University.

“[A] richly incarnational culture . . . is imaginatively captured in this important book.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“[A] stimulating and provocative contribution to the ongoing study of early modern Catholicism.” The Review of English Studies

Catholic Culture in Early Modern England explores various symbolic expressions of Catholic culture in post-Reformation England, challenging the conventional narrative that treats the Reformation as an all-encompassing and wholly favorable change in English religious history.” — Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

“This collection of eleven scholarly papers by international historians and literary scholars describes the experiences of English Catholics in post-Reformation England. . . . The qualified editors interweave a coherent introduction to English Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries, while the contributors sensitively and honestly reconsider this complex period of world history.” — Library Journal

“The anthology, like the majority of the essays themselves, judiciously avoids over-generalisation. In all its breathless eclecticism, this book is a stimulating and provocative contribution to the ongoing surge of early modern Catholicism.” — Review of English Studies

“In their introduction to this fascinating and stimulating collection of essays, Ronald Corthell, Frances Dolan, Christopher Highley, and Arthur Marotti locate their volume within an ongoing scholarly reassessment of the role of Catholicism in post-Reformation England, and of English Catholicism in relation to continental and archipelagic religious practices. . . . Overall, this wide-ranging and knowledgeable array of essays not only is a significant addition to the scholarly literature on its own account but should also do much to open up a diverse area to further research.” — Journal of British Studies

“ . . .A solid collection of essays that highlight the creative innovations and adaptations some English Catholics engaged in to maintain a sense of Catholic identity and community once the public organisation and sacramental structure of the English Church was no longer tied to Rome.” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“The editors of this collection, who are leading figures in early-modern Catholic studies, have brought together a superb and wide-ranging group of essays. ‘Culture’ for this collection means writing, but also relics, interior decoration, and embroidery, ‘England’ is more a category up for analysis than firm demarcation—geographic, linguistic, or otherwise—as evinced in the book’s reach into Latin literatures, international religious politics, and European Catholicisms. The result is a book that moves in a number of promising directions for research in the burgeoning field of early-modern Catholicism.” — The Catholic Historical Review

“The articles deal with recusant Roman Catholics and their ideas and practices in Early Modern England, with a conversion narrative, descriptions of vestments and other things, a bit of the autobiography of the ‘hunted priest’ Fr. John Gerard, the very interesting Fr. Robert Persons, the less interesting Queen Henrietta Maria, female hagiography, and more. . . . The scholarship is exceptional.” — Bibliotheque d’Humanisme et Renaissance

“This volume proves that their faith and that of the neighbors and coreligionists throughout England was more than strong enough to resist the attempts to impose uniformity in religious observance. Whether considering needlework, building, tombs, or writing, they created a distinctive culture that endured across the most troubled times in England’s religious history. The material remains of this culture in the face of adversity impressed those who sought to clear out the dark corners of the land in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and still impresses a confirmed Protestant such as the present reviewer.” — The Sixteenth Century Journal

“Though most of these essays are highly specialized, they all add variegated tesserae to the mosaic of early modern English Catholic culture. . . .The carefully compiled index enables the reader to trace persons, places, and concepts throughout the essays. The book should appeal to scholars in a variety of disciplines.” — Church History

“This collection marks a turning point in English Catholic studies, enriching our sense of early modern English Catholicism—and the conflicts embedded in an ongoing debate over the nature of English national identity. [The authors’] meticulous research, flexible thinking, and lucidity provide insight into a period that cannot be understood apart from its own profound and informed interest in religious experience.” — 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era

“As a whole, the text provides overwhelming evidence of a highly complex recusant Catholic culture surviving in England. Engaging a broad range of critical perspectives, the collection offers a particularly strong reconstruction of both the many essential roles of highly educated Catholic women and the multiple international Catholic networks enjoyed and engaged by English recusants at home and in exile.” — Early Modern Literary Studies

“This volume makes clear . . . that the recovery of the stray and sparse bric-a-brac of contemporary Catholic culture is not cultural or literary antiquarianism. It may not be clear at first how such objects (buildings, letters, spiritual and imaginative writings of various kinds, relics, vestments, etc.) fit into an overall account of post-Reformation Catholicism in England, but it is evident enough that explaining how they were created and how they survived tells us a great deal about English Catholics’ self-image, often in ways that cannot be recovered from other sources.” — Modern Philology

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Catholic Culture in Early Modern England


Edited by Ronald Corthell, Frances E. Dolan, Christopher Highley, and Arthur F. Marotti

 Catholic Culture in Early Modern England
Paper Edition

This collection of essays explores the survival of Catholic culture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England—a time of Protestant domination and sometimes persecution. Contributors examine not only devotional, political, autobiographical, and other written texts, but also material objects such as church vestments, architecture, and symbolic spaces. Among the topics discussed in this volume are the influence of Latin culture on Catholic women, Marian devotion, the activities of Catholics in continental seminaries and convents, the international context of English Catholicism, and the influential role of women as maintainers of Catholic culture in a hostile religious and political environment.

Catholic Culture in Early Modern England makes an important contribution to the ongoing project of historians and literary scholars to rewrite the cultural history of post-Reformation English Catholicism.

Contributors: Ronald Corthell, Frances Dolan, Christopher Highley, Arthur F. Marotti, Peter Davidson, Jane Stevenson, Sophie Holroyd, Caroline Hibbard, Gary Kuchar, Heather Wolfe, Molly Murray, Anne M. Myers, Mark Netzloff, Catherine Sanok, and Donna B. Hamilton.

“This collection contains cutting-edge research on a topic that has, until recently, been shockingly unrecognized and under-studied in the academic mainstream. This is a timely publication and one bound to prove a key point of reference in the future.” —Alison Shell, University of Durham

“In recent years, English Catholicism has emerged as one of the most richly provocative and productive veins of scholarship and critical inquiry in Early Modern studies. Catholic Culture in Early Modern England shows why this is so. The editors have assembled a well-balanced and wide-ranging collection of essays that impressively demonstrates how the question of what counts as English Catholic experience opens up fresh perspectives on the nature and scope of confessional and political identity and, more broadly, on the meaning of culture itself in relation to the diaspora that left its mark not only on early modern religious and social space but also on gender roles, aesthetic practice, and the uses of symbolic forms.” —Lowell Gallagher, UCLA

“Catholic Culture in Early Modern England is a well-considered contribution to the ongoing re-evaluation of post-Reformation English Catholicism and early modern history. The judicious introduction appropriately locates the essays in the wider context of contemporary scholarship and places them in relation to each other. The essays themselves shed light on familiar figures (Queen Henrietta Maria, William Alabaster, John Gerard, William Allen, and Robert Persons) as well as on unfamiliar ones (Helena Wintour and Barbara Constable). Some illuminate Catholic institutions, cultural practices, and individual works. All in all, this is a timely, thoughtful, and valuable collection.” —Robert S. Miola, Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor, Loyola College

“English Catholics lived among their Protestant neighbors, but they had cultural practices that identified them as Catholics, gave them a sense of community, and quietly asserted their values. These articles do a fine job of opening up the mental and physical worlds they created and represented in their gardens, houses, needlework, conversion narratives and high literature. Tied to international Catholicism, English Catholics lived within a sophisticated culture made more complex by secrecy.” —Norman Jones, Utah State University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02294-5

336 pages

“[A] richly incarnational culture . . . is imaginatively captured in this important book.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“[A] stimulating and provocative contribution to the ongoing study of early modern Catholicism.” The Review of English Studies

Catholic Culture in Early Modern England explores various symbolic expressions of Catholic culture in post-Reformation England, challenging the conventional narrative that treats the Reformation as an all-encompassing and wholly favorable change in English religious history.” — Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

“This collection of eleven scholarly papers by international historians and literary scholars describes the experiences of English Catholics in post-Reformation England. . . . The qualified editors interweave a coherent introduction to English Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries, while the contributors sensitively and honestly reconsider this complex period of world history.” — Library Journal

“The anthology, like the majority of the essays themselves, judiciously avoids over-generalisation. In all its breathless eclecticism, this book is a stimulating and provocative contribution to the ongoing surge of early modern Catholicism.” — Review of English Studies

“In their introduction to this fascinating and stimulating collection of essays, Ronald Corthell, Frances Dolan, Christopher Highley, and Arthur Marotti locate their volume within an ongoing scholarly reassessment of the role of Catholicism in post-Reformation England, and of English Catholicism in relation to continental and archipelagic religious practices. . . . Overall, this wide-ranging and knowledgeable array of essays not only is a significant addition to the scholarly literature on its own account but should also do much to open up a diverse area to further research.” — Journal of British Studies

“ . . .A solid collection of essays that highlight the creative innovations and adaptations some English Catholics engaged in to maintain a sense of Catholic identity and community once the public organisation and sacramental structure of the English Church was no longer tied to Rome.” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“The editors of this collection, who are leading figures in early-modern Catholic studies, have brought together a superb and wide-ranging group of essays. ‘Culture’ for this collection means writing, but also relics, interior decoration, and embroidery, ‘England’ is more a category up for analysis than firm demarcation—geographic, linguistic, or otherwise—as evinced in the book’s reach into Latin literatures, international religious politics, and European Catholicisms. The result is a book that moves in a number of promising directions for research in the burgeoning field of early-modern Catholicism.” — The Catholic Historical Review

“The articles deal with recusant Roman Catholics and their ideas and practices in Early Modern England, with a conversion narrative, descriptions of vestments and other things, a bit of the autobiography of the ‘hunted priest’ Fr. John Gerard, the very interesting Fr. Robert Persons, the less interesting Queen Henrietta Maria, female hagiography, and more. . . . The scholarship is exceptional.” — Bibliotheque d’Humanisme et Renaissance

“This volume proves that their faith and that of the neighbors and coreligionists throughout England was more than strong enough to resist the attempts to impose uniformity in religious observance. Whether considering needlework, building, tombs, or writing, they created a distinctive culture that endured across the most troubled times in England’s religious history. The material remains of this culture in the face of adversity impressed those who sought to clear out the dark corners of the land in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and still impresses a confirmed Protestant such as the present reviewer.” — The Sixteenth Century Journal

“Though most of these essays are highly specialized, they all add variegated tesserae to the mosaic of early modern English Catholic culture. . . .The carefully compiled index enables the reader to trace persons, places, and concepts throughout the essays. The book should appeal to scholars in a variety of disciplines.” — Church History

“This collection marks a turning point in English Catholic studies, enriching our sense of early modern English Catholicism—and the conflicts embedded in an ongoing debate over the nature of English national identity. [The authors’] meticulous research, flexible thinking, and lucidity provide insight into a period that cannot be understood apart from its own profound and informed interest in religious experience.” — 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era

“As a whole, the text provides overwhelming evidence of a highly complex recusant Catholic culture surviving in England. Engaging a broad range of critical perspectives, the collection offers a particularly strong reconstruction of both the many essential roles of highly educated Catholic women and the multiple international Catholic networks enjoyed and engaged by English recusants at home and in exile.” — Early Modern Literary Studies

“This volume makes clear . . . that the recovery of the stray and sparse bric-a-brac of contemporary Catholic culture is not cultural or literary antiquarianism. It may not be clear at first how such objects (buildings, letters, spiritual and imaginative writings of various kinds, relics, vestments, etc.) fit into an overall account of post-Reformation Catholicism in England, but it is evident enough that explaining how they were created and how they survived tells us a great deal about English Catholics’ self-image, often in ways that cannot be recovered from other sources.” — Modern Philology