All posts by Anne Page

Enlightening Enthusiasm

We are pleased to announce the publication of Lionel Laborie’s monograph, Enlightening Enthusiasm: Prophecy and Religious Experience in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Manchester University Press, 2015).

‘In the summer 1706, three Protestant refugees from the last French war of religion arrived in London to prophesy the fall of Rome and Christ’s imminent Second Coming. They claimed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, experienced bodily agitations and sought to revive the apostolic Church. Within two years, these ‘French Prophets’ counted nearly 500 followers, including Huguenots, Anglicans, Philadelphians, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quietists and even Jews. Their movement launched missionary tribes after failing to resurrect one of their members from the dead and spread across Europe. They remained active in Britain until the late 1740s, reappearing sporadically among the first Methodists, Moravians and Shakers.

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The French Prophets sparked one of the greatest controversies in eighteenth-century England, marked by a prodigious battle of pamphlets on revealed religion and miracles, violent riots and a political trial. They were branded as ‘enthusiasts’, then a derogatory label for religious fanaticism, but one whose modern representation largely draws upon the hostile discourse of Augustan moralists.

This book examines the nature of religious enthusiasm against the backdrop of the early English Enlightenment. It offers the first comprehensive approach to enthusiasm by looking at this multifarious issue from a social, religious, cultural, political and medical perspective. Based on new archival research, it challenges our modern understanding of this originally infamous term by dissociating religious experience from millenarianism, radical dissent and popular religion, to shed new light on the reality of enthusiasm in early Enlightenment England.’

The book can be ordered from the publisher’s website, http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9780719089886

Reliquiae Baxterianae: Online Exhibition

The wonderful online exhibition devoted to the Reliquiae Baxterianae is now online from the Google Cultural Institute and provides a wealth of information about the Baxter manuscripts, their state of preservation, their successive editions, as well as the reception of Baxter’s œuvre and much else besides.

Capture d’écran 2015-10-04 à 11.44.43Completed with filmed interviews by the team members and staff of Dr Williams’s Library.

The exhibition is beautifully curated, as well as entertaining, and is a mine of information for anybody with an interest in early-modern dissenting culture. We highly recommend it!

See: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/exhibit/-AJC4CrPoff9KA?position=7%3A0

BSECS 2016: Writing, Religion, and Enlightenment Panel

Call for Papers: Writing, Religion, and Enlightenment panel at BSECS 2016 (St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 6th-8th January 2016)

The focus of this panel is the relationship between writing and religion in the period of the Enlightenment (broadly interpreted). We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on this theme in relation to texts, from the canonical to the unpublished, connected with or produced by different religious denominations and communities (Anglican, Dissenting, Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Quaker and others). We are open to methodological approaches drawn from different disciplines, but the central concerns of the panel are: i) The ways in which individuals and groups represent and live their religious faith and identity through the reading, writing, and dissemination of texts; and ii) critical analysis of texts that might be termed ‘religious’ with a particular attention to language, form and genre.

Additional questions that the panel might address include, but are not limited to:

  • How were religious genres including hymnody, sermon and prayer conceived of in the period? What differentiates them from genres in the secular tradition?
  • How do religious writers imagine their readers?
  • How can religious texts be situated within the textual landscape of the Enlightenment? And in what ways do they engage with key Enlightenment debates (including, for example, ideas of self and of agency, rationality, and forms of knowledge)?
  • How do eighteenth-century writers validate their religious writing, and on what grounds do they negotiate the internal and external authority of their work?
  • How might we counter claims that religious writing fails to conform to the ideal of the literary?
  • What are the advantages/limitations of seeking to recuperate close reading and form-based criticism as an alternative to the historicist monopoly over the study of religious literature?
  • What can we learn from an investigation of religious writing that might influence our analysis of literary texts more broadly?

This panel represents the latest in a series of events organised by the panel chairs, and suitable papers will be considered for a planned publication comprising a journal special edition on this theme in 2017.

Abstracts of 250 words or fewer should be submitted by midnight on 11th October 2015 to L.I.Davies@soton.ac.uk

Details of the BSECS Annual Conference can be found at http://www.bsecs.org.uk/

The Crisis of British Protestantism

Hunter Powell’s monograph, The Crisis of British Protestantism: Church Power in the Puritan Revolution, 1638–44,  is now out with Manchester University Press.

‘This book seeks to bring coherence to two of the most studied periods in British history, Caroline non-conformity (pre-1640) and the British revolution (post-1642). It does so by focusing on the pivotal years of 1638–44 where debates around non-conformity within the Church of England morphed into a revolution between Parliament and its king. Parliament, saddled with the responsibility of re-defining England’s church, called its Westminster assembly of divines to debate and define the content and boundaries of that new church.

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Typically this period has been studied as either an ecclesiastical power struggle between Presbyterians and independents, or as the harbinger of modern religious toleration. This book challenges those assumptions and provides an entirely new framework for understanding one of the most important moments in British history’.

To order, see the publisher’s website, http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9780719096341

Baxter Symposium: Programme

Richard Baxter Quatercentenary Symposium
Friday 13 November 2015
Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR

2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of the Puritan pastor and writer, Richard Baxter (1615-1691). A symposium to commemorate this event and to assess the significance of Baxter’s contribution to seventeenth-century religious, political, literary and scientific culture in Britain, Europe and North America will be held at Dr Williams’s Library on Friday 13 November 2015. Confirmed speakers include Professor Nigel Smith (Princeton), Professor Ann Hughes (Keele) and Professor Howard  Hotson (Oxford).

The event will also profile two major editorial projects designed to make Baxter’s key manuscripts accessible to a contemporary scholarly readership:

The AHRC-funded edition of Reliquiae Baxterianae and the nine-volume edition of Baxter’s correspondence (both forthcoming with Oxford University Press).

Provisional Programme
12:00-12:30   Buffet Lunch
Richard Baxter and Seventeenth-Century Britain, Europe and North America
12:30-13:15   Professor Howard Hotson (Oxford) Title TBC
13:15-14:00   Professor Ann Hughes (Keele) ‘”Doubtless a godly man, though tenacious in his mistakes” (Simeon Ashe on Richard Baxter, 1656): Baxter and English Presbyterians’
14:00-14:45   Professor Nigel Smith (Princeton) ‘Richard Baxter and International Protestantism: by Grammar or by Numbers’
14:45-15:15   Further Discussion
15:15-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-16:30 The Editing of Richard Baxter
Professor Neil Keeble (Stirling) and Dr Thomas Charlton (DWL) on the Reliquiae Baxterianae (Oxford UP, 5 vols)
Dr Johanna Harris (Exeter) and Dr Alison Searle (Sydney) on the correspondence of Richard Baxter (Oxford UP, 9 vols)
16:00-16:30 Discussion and Questions
16:30 Convene at a nearby venue (TBC)

Conference fee £10 (£5 students/unwaged), payable on the door. Please register by 31 October 2015 by email to: RichardBaxter400@gmail.com

Thanks to the generosity of the Society for Renaissance Studies, the organisers can contribute to the travel and subsistence costs of a small number of unwaged postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers attending the symposium. If you would like to apply for this funding then please contact the organisers prior to the registration deadline. Details available at: http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/research/baxter.html

New Critical Studies on Quaker Women: 1650-1800

New Critical Studies on Quaker Women: 1650-1800

The corpus of Quaker women’s history and literature offers one of the most fascinating studies of gender across all centuries and continents. This small group of women pioneers, activists, prophets and writers has often been at the grassroots of revolutionary movements, fuelling and propelling the way for global, monumental change. Yet, there is very little in Quaker historiography that specifically highlights or features the gathered influence of these women. While only a few scholars have analysed early Quaker women’s contributions as spiritual foremothers and visionary leaders (Christine Trevett’s Women and Quakerism, 1991; Phyllis Mack’s Visionary Women, 1992; Rebecca Larson’s Daughters of Light, 1999; and Catie Gill’s Women in the Seventeenth-Century Quaker Community, 2005), there has not been a twenty-first-century compilation of new critical studies on Quaker women. With a central focus on gender, this project seeks to assemble an interdisciplinary body of writers with a shared interest in reassessing early Quaker women, highlighting new discoveries and interpretations about their literary creation, historical landmarks, and transatlantic movements.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Women and the origins of Quakerism (the influence of the earliest women Friends)
  • Feminization of early Quaker religious practices
  • Women’s socio-political positions within Quaker theology and culture
  • Women’s Meetings (as a site of power, autonomy, change)
  • Women and Quaker print culture (vs. the censorship of Second Day Morning Meeting)
  • Manuscript Culture
  • The limited placement of women in early Quaker historiography
  • Women on the margins of QuakerismWomen and the slave trade
  • Martyrology and gender
  • Women and Language
  • Women and Prophetic Performance
  • Religio-political writings by womenAutobiography and “convincement”
  • Dissent and identity studies
  • Women, leadership, and networking
  • Lesser known Quaker women (e.g. Elizabeth Hooten, Martha Simmonds, Mary Fisher, etc.)
  • Women Friends’ influence on other religious sects and communities

Please submit proposals of approximately 500 words, along with a curriculum vita, to: Michele Lise Tarter (tarter@tcnj.edu) and Catie Gill (C.J.Gill@lboro.ac.uk) by October 25, 2015. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

To download a pdf, please click here.

 

 

Baptist Women

Rachel Adcock has just published her monograph, Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680 (Ashgate, 2015, 232p, ISBN 978-1-4724-5706-6).

‘Although literary-historical studies have often focused on the range of dissenting religious groups and writers that flourished during the English Revolution, they have rarely had much to say about seventeenth-century Baptists, or, indeed, Baptist women. Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680 fills that gap, exploring how female Baptists played a crucial role in the group’s formation and growth during the 1640s and 50s, by their active participation in religious and political debate, and their desire to evangelise their followers.

Adcock coverThe study significantly challenges the idea that women, as members of these congregations, were unable to write with any kind of textual authority because they were often prevented from speaking aloud in church meetings. On the contrary, Adcock shows that Baptist women found their way into print to debate points of church organisation and doctrine, to defend themselves and their congregations, to evangelise others by example and by teaching, and to prophesy, and discusses the rhetorical tactics they utilised in order to demonstrate the value of women’s contributions’.

More information on the publisher’s website

To read Rachel’s description of the Loughwood Church records, see the National Trust website.

Cromwell’s religion: a study day on 3rd October 2015

Religious division was one of the key factors that dominated the 17th century and the driving force behind Oliver Cromwell’s extraordinary ascent to his role as Lord Protector. The subject is huge and has many different aspects – and the potential to be a subject worthy of a life-times study.

The Cromwell Association exists to further study of Cromwell and to promote a wider understanding of ‘God’s Englishman’ and his legacy. It is an educational charity and publishes an annual journal as well as promoting events and activities that further the overall aims.

The Association, in partnership with the Dissenting Experience Project, has organised a study day to look at different aspects of Cromwell’s religion. The programme, aimed at a non-academic audience, will comprise four papers by specialists in the field. They range from an examination of Cromwell’s relationship with the Presbyterians to the role of Quakers in the Protectorate. The speakers are: Prof Ann Hughes (Keele), Dr Elliot Vernon (London), Dr Kate Peters (Cambridge) and Dr Joel Halcomb (UEA). The day will be chaired by Professor John Morrill (Cambridge).

The study day is open to all and will take place at The City Temple, Holborn Viaduct, London, on Saturday 3rd October. The fee for the day, including a light buffet lunch, is £45.00.

For further details, and on-line booking, see www.olivercromwell.org/whats_new.htm

  • The full programme for the day is available on-line at the link above
  • The Association organises an annual study day, recent previous subjects have been Cromwell and the Army, Cromwell’s early life, Richard Cromwell. Papers are normally published in the annual journal Cromwelliana. Sample copies available on request.
  • The Association was established in 1937. It also organises an annual service of commemoration by the statue of Cromwell at Westminster on 3rd September, the anniversary of Cromwell’s death.
  • Images available on request

For further details of the event and, or, the Association, please contact John Goldsmith, jrgoldsmith@talktalk.net

Dissenting Experience Conference: 14 November 2015 (Year 3)

Scandal, Controversy, Persecution: Shaping Dissenting Identities

We are very pleased to announce that the programme for the third and final conference of the Dissenting Experience project is now ready.

Speakers: John Coffey, Grant Tapsell, Jeremy Gregory, Mark Knights, Johanna Harris, Kate Peters, Ariel Hessayon, and Mark Burden.

To download the programme, please click here.

The conference will take place on Saturday, 14 November 2015, Dr Williams’s Library – 14 Gordon Square,  London, WC1H 0AR

As usual, the conference is free of charge but prior registration is essential either by mail (anne.page@univ-amu.fr) or by post: Dr Michael Davies Department of English 19-23 Abercromby Sq University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZG.

Year 3 poster

This one-day conference, organised by the Centre for the English-Speaking World of Aix-Marseille Université in association with the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies and the University of Liverpool, focuses on the shaping of dissenting identities in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England.  It will consider how dissenters were named and viewed, both within and without their own communities, and what determined the formation of these identities, nationally and locally. Because the experience of dissent for both members and ministers of gathered churches was often one of negotiating scandal, controversy, and persecution, this conference will address the consequences of identifying with a dissenting church or sect, both before and after Toleration, and which factors – political and social, denominational and intellectual – helped to shape dissenting identities across the period, both individually and collectively.  How dissenting identities were established, debated, and challenged, across a range of networks – denominational and sectarian, literary and scientific – and in the contexts of revolution and persecution as well as of toleration and Enlightenment, is what this conference aims to explore. This is the third in a series of three annual events exploring the collective experience of the dissenting churches in the period 1600-1800.

 

 

Seminar in Dissenting Studies

DR WILLIAMS’S CENTRE FOR DISSENTING STUDIES

Seminar in Dissenting Studies, the Lecture Hall, Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR. All are welcome.

Wednesday 17 June 2015 5.15 to 6.45 pm

Timothy Whelan (Georgia Southern), ‘Mary Hays and Henry Crabb Robinson: Reconstructing a “Female Biography”’ 

Mary Hays has received considerable attention in the past two decades, through an edition of her correspondence, new editions of her novels and other prose, and important biographical studies, including Gina Luria Walker’s Mary Hays (1759-1843): The Growth of a Woman’s Mind (2006). Hays was herself concerned to record the lives of gifted women. Yet her own life history has been unnecessarily truncated and inaccurately presented owing to the absence of one critical resource: the life writings of Henry Crabb Robinson. Robinson met Hays in 1799 and, despite the sixteen-year difference in their ages, the friendship continued until her death in 1843. Robinson’s diary makes over 170 references to Hays, of which only seven have been published. Together with a valuable letter on Hays by Robinson to Catherine Clarkson in early 1800 concerning Hays’s affair with Charles Lloyd, these references provide an extensive genealogical record of Hays’s family after 1800 and their important involvement with Baptists and Unitarians, as well as Hays’s introduction to a vibrant group of Dissenting women from Leicester and their connections in the West Country that intersected at the same time with Godwin and his circle. Though Walker has referred to Hays’s life after 1806 as “buried”, Robinson’s accounts reveal something quite different, a woman who viewed herself and her life from within the prism of religious Dissent; a woman devoted to her family and their connections through marriage with several prominent Dissenting families (all friends of Robinson); a woman who held to many of the same opinions on religion, politics, and women’s rights she had first espoused in the 1790s; and who passed these ideals on to her niece and namesake, Matilda Mary Hays (1820-97), feminist and translator of George Sand.

Timothy Whelan is Professor of English at Georgia Southern University. He is Senior Visiting Fellow of the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, and currently Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. His monograph, Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766-1840, is in press with Palgrave. It builds on his 8-volume edition of Nonconformist Women Writers 1720-1840 (Pickering & Chatto, 2011). He has published many other critical editions and articles including, most recently, ‘Wilhelm Benecke, Crabb Robinson, and “rational faith”, 1819-1837’; he is general editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of the Reminiscences and Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson.

Speaker’s profile: www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/people/whelan.html

For more information about the Seminar in Dissenting Studies contact James Vigus (j.vigus@qmul.ac.uk) or see www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/events/current.html