Authority and governance
We must go out and conquer the world without being afraid of the difficulties or
snares it sets in our way. There must be nothing petty about a Sister of Notre
Dame. She must have the strong heart of a man, and a generous soul filled with
the spirit of the good God.1
This directive found in the Book of the Instructions of Blessed Mère Julie
(1909) was uncompromising. The founder Julie Billiart warned of impending
struggles defeated only by the sister of Notre Dame’s ‘strong heart of a man’
and her soul filled with the ‘spirit of the
I knew there had to be changes but was amazed – I would say, even offended – at the haphazard manner in which information was made know[n] to the province at large. Authority disappeared, which made it difficult to find out for oneself. In short, turmoil reigned and two groups formed – ‘for change’ and ‘against change’. 1
Thinking back, this sister acknowledged the dramatic changes that were a part of her experience of the 1960s and 1970s as the congregation she had entered in the 1940s went through a re-engineering of how religious life was governed. The
The Peterloo Massacre was more than just a Manchester event. The attendees, on
whom Manchester industry depended, came from a large spread of the wider textile
regions. The large demonstrations that followed in the autumn of 1819,
protesting against the actions of the authorities, were pan-regional and
national. The reaction to Peterloo established the massacre as firmly part of
the radical canon of martyrdom in the story of popular protest for democracy.
This article argues for the significance of Peterloo in fostering a sense of
regional and northern identities in England. Demonstrators expressed an
alternative patriotism to the anti-radical loyalism as defined by the
authorities and other opponents of mass collective action.
Ever since his violent death in 1556, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer had been used by
rival groups to justify their views about the Church of England. Thanks chiefly
to John Foxe his burning, in particular, became central to Protestant
narratives. In the nineteenth century, however, confessional stories became
hotly contested, and amid the ‘rage of history’ erstwhile heroes and martyrs
were placed under intense scrutiny. This article uses Cranmers fluctuating
reputation as a lens through which to explore changing understandings of the
English past. As will become clear, uncertainties over how to place Cranmer
bespoke a crisis of Anglican identity, one driven both by divisions within the
Church of England and challenges to its political, cultural and intellectual
authority from without. Despite and perhaps because of shifts in how he was
seen, Cranmers liturgical writings - the Book of Common Prayer - came to be seen
as his chief legacy.
Although the reputation of Englands first queen regnant, Mary Tudor (died 1558)
had remained substantially unchanged in the intervening centuries, there were
always some defenders of that Catholic queen among the historians of Victorian
England. It is worth noting, however, that such revisionism made little if any
impact on the schoolroom history textbooks, where Marys reputation remained much
as John Foxe had defined it. Such anxiety as there was about attempts to restore
something of Marys reputation were made more problematic by the increasing
number and increasingly visible presence of a comprehensive Catholic hierarchy
in the nineteenth century, and by high-profile converts to the Catholic faith
and papal authority. The pre-eminent historians of the later Victorian era
consistently remained more favourable to the reign of Elizabeth, seen as the
destroyer,of an effective Catholic church in England.
Necromancy, the practice of conjuring and controlling evil spirits, was a popular
pursuit in the courts and cloisters of late medieval and early modern Europe.
Books that gave details on how to conduct magical experiments circulated widely.
Written pseudonymously under the name of the astrologer and translator Michael
Scot (d. 1236), Latin MS 105 from the John Rylands Library, Manchester, is
notable for the inclusion, at the beginning of the manuscript, of a corrupted,
unreadable text that purports to be the Arabic original. Other recensions of the
handbook, which generally travelled under the pseudo-Arabic title of Almuchabola
Absegalim Alkakib Albaon, also stressed the experiments non-Western origins.
Using Latin MS 105 as the main case study, this article aims to investigate the
extent to which a magic books paratextual data conveyed a sense of authority to
its contemporary audience.
Catholicism and Nonconformity in Nineteenth-Century ‘Jewish Conversion’ Novels
This article examines English Evangelical novels focused on the conversion of Jewish characters, published from the 1820s to the 1850s. It concentrates particularly on the way these novels emphasised the importance of the Church of England in constructing national and religious identity, and used Jewish conversion as a way to critique Catholicism and Nonconformity. Jewish worship, rabbinic authority and Talmudic devotion were linked to Roman Catholic attitudes towards priesthood and tradition, while Jews were also portrayed as victims of a persecuting Roman Church. Nonconformity was criticised for disordered worship and confusing Jews with its attacks on respectable Anglicanism. As a national religion, novelists therefore imagined that Jews would be saved by a national church, and often linked this to concepts of a national restoration to Palestine. This article develops and complicates understandings of Evangelical views of Jews in the nineteenth century, and their links to ‘writing the nation’ in popular literature.