Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and by Christopher Highley

By Christopher Highley

Glossy students, fixated at the "winners" in England's 16th- and seventeenth-century non secular struggles, have too with ease assumed the inevitability of Protestantism's ancient triumph and feature uncritically permitted the reformers' personal rhetorical building of themselves as embodiments of an genuine Englishness. Christopher Highley interrogates this narrative by means of analyzing how Catholics from the reign of Mary Tudor to the early 17th century contested and formed discourses of nationwide identification, patriotism, and Englishness. Accused by way of their rivals of espousing an alien faith, one orchestrated from Rome and sustained via Spain, English Catholics fought again via constructing their very own self-representations that emphasised how the Catholic religion used to be an historical and indispensable a part of real Englishness. After the accession of the Protestant Elizabeth, the Catholic imagining of britain was once regularly the venture of the exiles who had left their place of origin looking for non secular toleration and overseas tips.

English Catholics developed narratives in their personal non secular background and identification, notwithstanding, not just in accordance with Protestant polemic but in addition as a part of intra-Catholic rivalries that pitted Marian clergy opposed to seminary monks, secular monks opposed to Jesuits, and exiled English Catholics opposed to their co-religionists from different components of england and eire. Drawing at the reassessments of English Catholicism by way of John Bossy, Christopher Haigh, Alexandra Walsham, Michael Questier and others, Catholics Writing the Nation foregrounds the faultlines inside and among some of the Catholic groups of the Atlantic archipelago.

Eschewing any confessional bias, Highley's ebook is an interdisciplinary cultural examine of a huge yet overlooked measurement of Early smooth English Catholicism. In charting the advanced Catholic engagement with questions of cultural and nationwide identification, he discusses quite a number genres, texts, and records either in print and manuscript, together with ecclesiastical histories, polemical treatises, antiquarian tracts, and correspondence. His argument weaves jointly a wealthy ancient narrative of individuals, occasions, and texts whereas additionally providing contextualized shut readings of particular works by way of figures reminiscent of Edmund Campion, Robert people, Thomas Stapleton, and Richard Verstegan.

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135 A sight of the Portugall pearle, Ciiv. ” r 36 EXILE AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY 1558-1570 absurd for the Louvain exiles to see themselves as refugees of religious persecution in England. The religious exile of whatever persuasion, whether he fled from a society that physically persecuted him or only denied his religious freedoms, invariably felt the guilt of knowing that other fellow believers had stayed behind, possibly to face imprisonment and death. Under these circumstances, Catholic exiles might console themselves with the thought that the homeland they had left was a perversion of its true self and that in order to return it to its former identity, they needed temporarily to abandon it.

One day, when John was in a common bathhouse, he “leapt out immediatlie unwashed,” after realizing that an arch-heretic, Cerinthus, was also bathing there. ” The difficulty for the faithful, however, lay in deciding what form this avoidance should take: was it enough simply to stay away from heretics, their services and sermons, or was the ultimate act of temporal separation, flight to a foreign realm, necessary? 129 Labeling the Protestants “tyrants” and “antichrists,” Evans evokes the threat of bodily danger to Godly Catholics if they stay in England.

For a contemporary account of the city and university, see Samuel Lewkenor, A discourse not altogether unprofitable, nor unpleasant for such as are desirous to know the situation and customes of forraine cities without travelling to see them. Containing a discourse of all those citties wherein doe flourish at this day priviledged universities (1600), 21r –22r . 92 Peter Marshall, Religious Identities in Henry VIII's England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 247 n. 92. On the history of the university, see Leuven University 1425–1985 (Leuven University Press, 1990).

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