-Catholic and even indicative of a deep-seated prejudice against the
Vatican. The first critic to make this really explicit was J. M. S.
Tompkins, who insisted: ‘the prejudice against Catholicism, or,
more particularly, against priests and monks, the “anti-Roman
bray” … is heard at its loudest in both the English and
the German novels of terror’. 2 Voices dissenting from this creed include Montague
This article examines the ways in which James Herbert‘s The Spear (1978) attempted to combine nineteenth century gothic with the contemporary thriller. The novel deals with the activities of a neo-Nazi organisation, and the essay draws parallels between Herberts deployment of National Socialism and the treatment of Roman Catholicism in earlier Gothic texts. Contextualising the novel within a wider fascination with Nazism in 1970s popular culture, it also considers the ethical difficulties in applying techniques from supernatural Gothic to secular tyranny.
Catholicism as System in Charles Maturin‘s Melmoth the Wanderer
Dermot A. Ryan
This essay casts a new light on the anti-Catholicism of Charles Robert Maturin‘s gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer by reading it as part of a larger assault on systems in the wake of the French Revolution. Maturin‘s attack on the stupendous system of Catholicism contributes to a broader conservative polemic against all forms of international governance. Melmoth the Wanderer‘s portrait of the Church offers us an early instance of modern conservatisms archnemesis: an international system that conspires to rule the world.
Elizabeth Gaskell used Gothic as a symbolic language to explore the dark side of Unitarian thought. She explores, in rationalist terms, evils origins, effects, and remedy, using Gothic tropes as metaphors for humanly created misery. Gaskell locates the roots of ‘evil’ in an unenlightened social order – in ‘The Crooked Branch’ erroneous parenting, and in ‘The Poor Clare’ wider social structures, both distorted by the ideology of privilege. ‘The Poor Clare’ also engages with the tension between moral determinism and personal responsibility, and defends a Unitarian salvation. This tale also demonstrates Gaskell‘s views on aspects of Roman Catholicism.
, 111 ( 2011 ), 29–43 ; Jean-Marie Goulemot , ‘Démons, merveilles et philosophie à l’âge classique’ , Annales. Histoires, Sciences Sociales , 35 ( 1980 ), 1223–50 ; Girolamo Imbruglia , ‘Dalle storie di santi alla storia naturale della religione: L’idea moderna di superstizione’ , Rivista storica italiana , 101 ( 1989 ), 35–84 .
3 Moshe Sluhovsky , Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism ( Chicago, IL : Chicago University Press , 2007 ); Moshe Sluhovsky , ‘Rationalizing visions in
if he did he would lose his right hand and die ‘a shameful death’. Maxwell was convinced, and refastened a golden crucifix about his neck in a fresh avowal of his devotion to Catholicism. However, within a few years of his release his resolve had wavered. He signed the offending articles of faith in 1590 and 1591. In 1593, a feud with the Johnstones of Annandale erupted into violence. Maxwell was killed and his body dismembered, fulfilling – indeed, rather exceeding – the angel’s prophecy.
This angel came to Maxwell at a time of need, but offered no promises of
ascribed to Thomas of Erceldoune, which predicted that Cromwell would die ‘when [the] fifth year of his protectorate is ended and the sixt beginning’, paving the way for a Stuart restoration. Kincardine shared his faith in the prophecy. 72 This faith was vindicated when Cromwell died in September 1658, five years into his protectorate.
The Restoration regime continued to buttress its authority with prophecy. After it became known in 1673 that James, Duke of York, had converted to Catholicism, the English parliament moved legislation to exclude him from the succession
Reformation, reacted to perceived threats to the Kirk in its existential struggle against Catholicism. Protestants understood the battle between the true religion and the Roman Antichrist as part of God’s plan to bring about the end of the world. When used to interpret the progress of the national church, then, the doctrine of providence was explicitly concerned with the forthcoming apocalypse. 49
Early modern fast orders emphasised what we might call the human’s-eye view on the works of providence. As we saw above, theologians asserted God’s ordination of all events
was nevertheless fundamentally rational. 70
Campbell was not the only thinker to depart from the orthodox position on reason’s ability to discover the true nature of the soul and the existence of an afterlife. Nor was this debate restricted to the Presbyterian clergy. Andrew Ramsay, a Scottish convert to Catholicism, similarly argued that pagan knowledge of the soul’s immortality originated in recollections of God’s revelation of supernatural truths to Noah after the Flood. 71 Only the shared Noevian origins of the pagans’ religious traditions could explain their
associated with Catholicism or paganism, were considered wholly unacceptable by educated authorities. Within folk culture, however, the divide between orthodox and unorthodox was often supplanted by the divide between good and bad. Common folk tended to think that good spirits were, or should be, orthodox. We sometimes see kirk sessions going along with this, but at other times we see them taking a more theologically austere approach whereby they defined virtually all spirits encountered by the common folk as demons or the Devil, and condemned any negotiation, however