The Mental World of Stuart Catholicism (seminar)

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This was a fall 1998 semester seminar led by Patricia Brückmann. Visiting faculty included Eamon Duffy (Magdalene College, Cambridge), John Henry (University of Edinburgh), Caroline Hibbard (University of Illinois, Urbana), Anthony Milton (University of Sheffield), Tadhg O hAnnrachain (University College, Dublin), and Steven Zwicker (Washington University, St. Louis).

One of the Center for the History of British Political Thought programs, this seminar addressed the ways in which Catholicism, formed in part by Continental doctrines, was shaped by and in turn itself shaped British political thought from the accession of James I to the end of the reign of James II. Beginning with a survey of new readings of the reformation in England and on the Continent, the seminar considered how Catholics in England responded to the new and refashioned the old. The seminar asked how English Catholics thought and debated about church, state, and crown. How did English, Scottish, and Irish Catholics absorb the influences from Rome and Versailles? What influence came from religious orders and societies? What part did English Catholics play in the formation of a "British" identity? Finally, to broaden the scope of the investigation, what did Catholics read and how did they get their books and other documents? What role did Catholic women play in society and culture? How did Catholicism manifest itself in fields such as literature, architecture, drama, music, or science and philosophy? Seminar participants took part in an informal reading of Lady Falkland's The Tragedy of Mariam, Fair Queen of Jewry. They also attended a performance by the Folger Consort, keyed to the seminar.

Director: Patricia Brückmann is Professor of English, Emeritus, at the University of Toronto. The author of A Manner of Correspondence: The Scriblerus Club (1997), she has written widely on eighteenth-century texts and on Benedictine writers of the late seventeenth century. She is completing a book on The Canterbury Tales.