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Anna Koustinoudi

Through the prisms of psychoanalysis and narrative theory the article addresses the concepts of temporality and transgenerational phantom in Elizabeth Gaskells Gothic piece ‘The Poor Clare’ (1856). Gaskells text, which revolves around an ancestral curse, is but a loose repetitious narrative characterized by the circularity of its structure and tone – its end casting one back into its middle – with its narrator narrating the past locked into the present, which is completely determined by the future, by the curse to be fulfilled. Narration becomes unsettling and obsessional, revealing the texts shared phantoms/foreign bodies as these implicate the characters and the narrating persona in a complex web of unconscious identifications and psychic splits, eventually coming to congeal around the biblical prophecy: ‘the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children’. In being reiterated throughout, the cryptic and (encrypted) words reaffirm both the efficacy of the curse –which always already doubles back on the one that has hurled it – and the texts playing out of desire and trauma, thus rendering the celebrated subject of the Enlightment both an ailing subject and an alien to itself.

Gothic Studies
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.

Rebecca Styler

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.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Carmen Mangion

and grounded it in the renewed spiritual, intellectual and apostolic understanding of religious life. Television presenter Alan Whicker was less convinced of the emancipation of women religious. In his series ‘Whicker, Within a Woman’s World’ he introduced a community of Poor Clares as ‘the most unliberated women in the world’. 2 But were they? Many scholars of nineteenth-century women religious have argued that women religious had agency, some even controversially suggesting their proto-feminism. 3 However, decision-making power among women religious was

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
Geoff Baker

he seek to alleviate the sufferings of English Catholics by offering both religious and practical support, but at risk to himself and his family he also provided charity for Irish Catholics. Furthermore, Blundell was a zealous supporter of English religious houses on the continent and by 1660 he was entrusted with vast sums of money to farm out on behalf of the Poor Clares of Rouen and became one of their foremost financial agents in England. Finally, in his writings he provided arguments for the removal of the penal laws and the admission of Catholics into every area

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Carmen Mangion

Introduction In 1969, Abbess Mary Joseph regaled the Poor Clares of Darlington on her return from the vocations exhibition in Leeds with ‘interesting and amusing’ talks on religious life, ‘especially on how to deal with the modern girl’. The following week, Poor Clare abbess Mother Mary Paula Smallwood of Baddesley Clinton visited Darlington and also ‘entertained us with stories of the “antics” of modern postulants’. 1 The Modern Girl was a recurrent trope which featured even in religious life. Each generation laid claim to its modernity with a Modern Girl

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
Carmen Mangion

first at the centre, through international collaborations and ‘special’ or aggiornamento chapters which occurred in 1968 (or thereabouts). The second half of the chapter explores local governance, examining the changing understandings of obedience, the lived experience of participation and the development of smaller communities. International collaborations International collaborations were encouraged by the processes of renewal that began in the 1950s with Sponsa Christi . The Poor Clares, though residing in autonomous communities, interacted through

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
James E. Kelly

, Mary and Dorothy Witham at the convent school, brought by ‘Mr Robt Witham their Unkle Master of Divinity at Douay, who went from thence to meet them at Brudges accompanied & brought them to the Monastery’.3 Social grandstanding could work both ways: the keeper of the college diary at Douai recorded the arrival of Marmaduke Langdale as a student in 1735, remarking that he was a relation of the abbess at the Dunkirk Poor Clares.4 An equally expected relationship, but on a more institutional level, was the provision of confessors. A gendered reading of the relationship

in College communities abroad
Abstract only
Geoff Baker

Richard Butler, heir to the Mountgarret estates. Likewise, his links to religious orders on the continent developed new significance as his children entered religious houses. Blundell frequently corresponded with St Omer and the different houses of the Poor Clares that his daughters joined, though he developed a particular relationship with the Poor Clares of Rouen, for whom he acted as an agent, disseminating correspondence, brokering portions for the daughters of local families and collecting and distributing money on their behalf. However, these activities were not as

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Carmen Mangion

Introduction In 1972 Alan Whicker, a British journalist and presenter of the widely watched Whicker’s World , together with his television crew, entered the silent and hidden world of the cloister. 1 As part of a series entitled ‘Whicker, Within a Woman’s World’ he had secured permission to film for a twenty-six-minute programme about the Poor Clares, an enclosed Catholic community of nuns, whom he introduced as ‘the most unliberated women in the world’. Pruriently entitled A Girl Gets Temptations , the programme opened evocatively with barefoot young nuns

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age