This book explores a range of literary and theatrical forms as means of mediating religious conflict in early modern England. It deals with the specific ways available to mediate religious conflict, precisely because faith mattered more than many other social paradigms. The first part explores the ways in which specific religious rituals and related cultural practices were taken up by literary texts. In a compelling rereading of the final act of 'The Merchant of Venice', the book investigates the devotional differences informing early modern observances of Easter. Subsequently, it explores the ways in which Christmas provided a confessional bridge uniting different religious constituencies. Goodnight ballads were not only commercially successful pieces of public entertainment but also effective forms of predominantly Protestant religious persuasion. The book's consideration of Elizabethan romance links the literary form to the sacrament of the Eucharist, and argues that the Eucharist debate had an impact on Elizabethan romances. The second part 'Negotiating confessional conflict' provides a rereading of When You See Me You Know Me, exposing the processes of religious reform as an on-going means of mediating the new normality of confessional plurality. It examines the potential of the tragic form by a reading of the play The White Devil, and discusses the ideological fault line in the views of witchcraft. The book also shows that Henry V anticipates later sermons of John Donne that served to promote 'an interrogative conscience'.
Drawing upon a multi-disciplinary methodology employing diverse written sources, material practices and vivid life histories, Faith in the Family seeks to assess the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the ordinary believer, alongside contemporaneous shifts in British society relating to social mobility, the sixties, sexual morality, and secularisation. Chapters examine the changes in the Roman Catholic liturgy and Christology, devotion to Mary, the rosary and the place of women in the family and church, as well as the enduring (but shifting) popularity of Saints Bernadette and Thérèse. Appealing to students of modern British gender and cultural history, as well as a general readership interested in religious life in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century, Faith in the Family illustrates that despite unmistakable differences in their cultural accoutrements and interpretations of Catholicism, English Catholics continued to identify with and practise the ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ before and after Vatican II.
Negotiating confessional difference in early modern Christmas celebrations
Protestant faith and Catholic charity:
negotiating confessional difference in
early modern Christmas celebrations
At the end of John Taylor’s pamphlet The Complaint of Christmas (1631), the
narrator (Christmas), coming to the end of his travels through Catholic and
Protestant Europe, sums up the lessons of his trip:
The Roman Catholics boast they have Charity living with them (which they
reverence as much as they do their Saints) by which, with the help of good works
they hope to merit [salvation]. Alas, alas, they are deceived, their Charity
I used to be younger. In 1987 I conducted an ethnography of the
creationist movement as my dissertation research. Wonderful it was
to be in the midst of the granddaddy of science and religion controversies in the years when creationism packaged itself as scientific
creationism. That experience filled my head with ideas about relations
between science and religion.
A note to our European readers, including the British: yes, I realise
it is beyond strange that in a major Western nation a large proportion
of the population continues to
be said, from any religious point of view, of an author responsible for
subjecting faith to so much blasphemous and irreverent deformation:
A watchman We have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery
that ever was known in the commonwealth.
First watchman And one Deformed is one of them.
(Much Ado, 3.3.145–9)
With Forms of Faith we have here recovered some of ‘the most dangerous
pieces of lechery’ that ever were ‘known in the commonwealth’, and the religiously ‘Deformed’ writer Shakespeare is among them. For in this
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, comparing
her excitement with ‘[t]he joy which wrought into Pygmalion’s mind while
he found his beloved image wax little and little both softer and warmer in
his folded arms’.3 The narrator here offers his readers a literary paradigm of
supernatural shape-shifting to understand Philoclea’s overwhelming emotions, even though Cleophila does not alter her shape in any visible or palpable manner. Instead, it is the faith and imagination of Philoclea which
transforms the Amazon into a valiant prince, at least from her perspective.
A world of difference: religion, literary form, and the negotiation of conflict in early modern England
Jonathan Baldo and Isabel Karremann
practices. So far, the issues of religious pluralization and
the divisions between Catholic and Protestant positions, among sectarian
movements, or between the Church and the state, have been debated mostly
in terms of dissent and escalation. Despite the centrality of confessional conflict, however, it did not always erupt into hostilities over how to symbolize
and perform the sacred, nor did it lead to a paralysis of social agency. Rather,
people had to arrange themselves somehow with divided loyalties: between
the old faith and the new, between religious and secular
The English union in the writings of Arthur Mee and G.K.
spiritual whole, bound together by ties of religion. As Stuart Jones
has pointed out, the origins of Englishness in this mould lie in the
Liberal Anglican interpretation of history of the first half of the
nineteenth century. Through the work of Matthew Arnold, F.D. Maurice
and J.R. Seeley, Liberal Anglicanism was shaped into a wider stream
of thought and pitted against the crisis of faith associated with
5 Wainwright’s faith
Like most politicians of his generation, Wainwright was raised as a Christian;
but Wainwright’s faith was a more significant element in his life, his politics
and the politics of his Party than for most of those contemporaries. The particular form of his Christianity – Methodism – had practical and electoral implications for Wainwright, and in particular invested him with a sense of duty to
do God’s work in the mortal world.
The strong links between religious belief – especially Non-conformist Christianity – and the fortunes of the Liberal
Instruction in the details of
the faith was chiefly received from priests, either through a
detailed syllabus of points which had to be covered, or through
discussion of particular aspects via sermons.
The short list of the
contents of the faith compiled by John Drury as part of his task
of parochial instruction at Beccles is