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Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.

Catholic priests and political violence in Ireland, 1919-21
Author: Brian Heffernan

The guerrilla war waged between the IRA and the crown forces from 1919 to 1921 was a pivotal episode in the modern history of Ireland. This book addresses the War of Independence from a new perspective by focusing on the attitude of a powerful social elite: the Catholic clergy. The close relationship between Irish nationalism and Catholicism was put to the test when a pugnacious new republicanism emerged after the 1916 Easter rising. When the IRA and the crown forces became involved in a guerrilla war from 1919 onwards, priests had to define their position anew. Using a wealth of source material, much of it new, this book assesses the clergy’s response to political violence. It describes how the image of shared victimhood at the hands of the British helped to contain tensions between the clergy and the republican movement, and shows how the links between Catholicism and Irish nationalism were sustained.

The mental world of a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman
Author: Geoff Baker

This book examines the activities of William Blundell, a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman, and using the approaches of the history of reading provides a detailed analysis of his mindset. Blundell was neither the passive victim nor the entirely loyal subject that he and others have claimed. He actively defended his family from the penal laws and used the relative freedom that this gave him to patronise other Catholics. In his locality, Blundell ensured that the township of Little Crosby was populated almost entirely by his co-religionists, on a national level he constructed and circulated arguments supporting the removal of the penal laws, and on an international level he worked as an agent for the Poor Clares of Rouen. That he cannot be defined solely by his victimhood is further supported by his commonplace notes. Not only did Blundell rewrite the histories of recent civil conflicts to show that Protestants were prone to rebellion and Catholics to loyalty, but we also find a different perspective on his religious beliefs. His commonplaces suggest an underlying tension with aspects of Catholicism that is manifest throughout his notes on his practical engagement with the world, in which it is clear that he was wrestling with the various aspects of his identity. This examination of Blundell's political and cultural worlds complicates generalisations about early modern religious identities.

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Editors: Alan Rawes and Diego Saglia

Byron’s connection with Italy is one of the most familiar facts about British Romanticism. A considerable portion of his legend is linked to his many pronouncements about the country (where he lived between 1816 and 1823), its history, culture and people, as well as about his own experiences in Italy and among Italians. Offering new insights into Byron’s relation to Italy, this volume is concerned with the real, historical ‘Anglo-Italian’ Byron, and his ‘almost Italianness’ as a poet. Its essays bring together different critical perspectives to take the pulse of current debates and open up new lines of enquiry into this crucial theme in Byron Studies and Romantic-era Studies more widely. In doing so, they explore how Byron’s being in Italy affected his sense of his own individual identity and of the labile nature of the self. It affected his politics – both in theory and in practice – and, of course, his whole development as a writer of lyrics, dramas, narratives, satires and letters. Moreover, the essays show how Italy affected, changed and informed Byron’s thinking about matters far beyond Italy itself. As the book shows, the poet’s relation to the country and its culture was complicated by a pervasive dialectic between familiarity and distance, and thus neither stable nor consistent. For this reason, among many others, the topic of ‘Byron and Italy’ remains an endless source of intellectual, literary, historical and existential fascination.

Author: Tom Betteridge

This book is a study of the English Reformation as a poetic and political event. It examines the political, religious and poetic writings of the period 1520-1580, in relation to the effects of confessionalization on Tudor writing. The central argument of the book is that it is a mistake to understand this literature simply on the basis of the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism. Instead one needs to see Tudor culture as fractured between emerging confessional identities, Protestant and Catholic, and marked by a conflict between those who embraced the process of confessionalization and those who rejected it. Sir Richard Morrison's A Remedy for Sedition was part of the Henrician government's propaganda response to the Pilgrimage of Grace. Edwardian politicians and intellectuals theorized and lauded the idea of counsel in both practice and theory. The book discusses three themes reflected in Gardiner's 1554 sermon: the self, the social effects of Reformation, and the Marian approaches to the interpretation of texts. The Marian Reformation produced its own cultural poetics - which continued to have an influence on Tudor literature long after 1558. The decade following the successful suppression of the Northern Rebellion in 1570 was a difficult one for the Elizabethan regime and its supporters. An overview of Elizabethan poetics and politics explains the extent to which the culture of the period was a product of the political and poetic debates of the early years of the Queen's reign.

Catholicism, gender and ethnicity in nineteenth-century Scotland
Author: S. Karly Kehoe

This book examines the changing nature of Catholicism in modern Scotland by placing a significant emphasis on women religious. It highlights the defining role they played in the transformation and modernisation of the Catholic Church as it struggled to cope with unprecedented levels of Irish migration. The institutions and care-networks that these women established represented a new age in social welfare that served to connect the church with Scotland's emerging civil society. The book examines how the church reacted to liberalism, legislative reform, the rise of evangelicalism and the continued growth of Irish migration between the late 1820s and the late 1850s. A mutual aversion to the Irish and a loyalty to nation and state inspired a recusant and ultramontane laity to invest heavily in a programme of church transformation and development. The recruitment of the Ursulines of Jesus, the first community of nuns to return to Scotland since the Reformation, is highlighted as a significant step towards legitimising Catholic respectability. The book focuses on the recruitment and influence of women religious. It also focuses on the issue of identity by considering how gender and ethnicity influenced the development of these religious communities and how this was connected with the broader campaign to transform Catholic culture in Scotland. The book also examines the development of Catholic education in Scotland between the late 1840s and 1900 and prioritises the role played by women religious in this process.

Author: Bryan Fanning

This book examines the debates and processes that have shaped the modernisation of Ireland since the beginning of the twentieth century. There are compelling justifications for methodological nationalism using research and analysis focused on the jurisdiction of a nation-state. The nation-state remains a necessary unit of analysis not least because it is a unit of taxation and representation, a legal and political jurisdiction, a site of bounded loyalties and of identity politics. The book argues that nationalism in twenty-first-century Ireland is even more powerful and socially embedded than it was in de Valera's Ireland. It considers what kind of Ireland Pearse wanted to bring about. Pearse proposed a model that was very different from the already dominant Catholic model that did much to incubate modern Ireland. Beyond this, Catholicism offered a distinct response to modernity aimed at competing with the two main secular ideologies: liberalism and socialism. Women have been marginalised in most of the debates that shaped Ireland even where they were directly affected by them. One of the most picked-over episodes in twentieth-century Irish history has been the conflict surrounding the Mother and Child Scheme. The book examines this conflict as a starting point of an analysis of the place of women in post-independence Ireland. It further addresses the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, the name given to a period of rapid economic growth that was likened to the performance of East Asian 'tiger' economies.

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Author: Keith Reader

Lacanian discourse has a complex and multiplies determined relationship with Catholicism, and Robert Bresson has the reputation of being the cinema's greatest Catholic director. Few Catholic artists, however, have found the institutional life of 'their' Church a congenial or inspirational topic, and its declining importance in Bresson's later work is not of itself particularly surprising. Pascal's wager on the existence of God has what contemporary linguistics might call a performative effect, for it is only thanks to the wager that God's existence becomes certain and available to the believer. Bresson's first film, Affaires publiques, is in many ways as unBressonian a work as could be imagined. Bresson from Journal onwards works to all intents and purposes outside genre, with the exception of those parts of Pickpocket and the inserts in Le Diable probablement that are close to the documentary. In 1947, Bresson went to Rome to work on a screenplay of the life of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, which was never to be filmed. Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé, released in 1956, was and remains Bresson's most commercially successful and critically best-received film, though curiously for a very long time it was unavailable in Britain. Bresson's next two films, his first in colour, are also his first true adaptations from Dostoevsky. Bresson's final film, shot in the summer of 1982 and released in 1983, brought to an end the longest gap in his work since that separating Journal from Les Dames, more than thirty years before.

Each age has used the debate about the English Reformation in its own way and for its own ends. This book is about the changing nature of the debate on the English Reformation, and is a study of Reformation historiography. It focuses the historiography of the Reformation as seen through the eyes of men who were contemporaries of the English Reformation, and examines the work of certain later writers from Thomas Fuller to John Strype. The book discusses the history of the sixteenth-century Reformation as written by modernist professional historians of the later nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. All through the Tudor times the tide of Reformation ebbed and flowed as the monarch willed. The book sets out modern debates concerning the role of Henry VIII, or his ministers, the Reformation and the people of England, and the relative strength of Protestantism or Catholicism. Catholics and Protestants alike openly used the historical past to support their contemporary political arguments. Additionally, the nature of religious identities, and the changes which occurred in the Church of England as a result of the Reformation are also explained. The history of the Reformation in the 1990s and 2000s has to be viewed within the context of research assessment and peer review. The book shows how persistent the threat of postmodernist theory is to the discipline of history, even as leading academic authorities on the Reformation have rejected it out of hand.

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Cara Delay

weak. Women’s devotional worlds thus were syncretic – intensely Catholic but also steeped in vernacular popular traditions including holy well devotions and fairy belief. By the late nineteenth-century ‘devotional revolution’ (1850–75),4 when the Church reorganised and rebuilt, lay Catholic women came to occupy the public spaces of the parish and chapel in unprecedented numbers. And in the first half of the twentieth century, Irish women’s Catholicism became not only popular but also material and commercial, bolstered by a remarkable flourishing of publications and

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950