By Force and Fear: Taking and Breaking Monastic Vows in Early Modern Europe by Anne Jacobson Schutte (Hardback, 2011)
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- DescriptionAn unwilling, desperate nun trapped in the cloister, unable to gain release: such is the image that endures today of monastic life in early modern Europe. In By Force and Fear, Anne Jacobson Schutte demonstrates that this and other common stereotypes of involuntary consignment to religious houses-shaped by literary sources such as Manzoni's The Betrothed-are badly off the mark. Drawing on records of the Congregation of the Council, held in the Vatican Archive, Schutte examines nearly one thousand petitions for annulment of monastic vows submitted to the Pope and adjudicated by the Council during a 125-year period, from 1668 to 1793. She considers petitions from Roman Catholic regions across Europe and a few from Latin America and finds that, in about half these cases, the congregation reached a decision. Many women and a smaller proportion of men got what they asked for: decrees nullifying their monastic profession and releasing them from religious houses. Schutte also reaches important conclusions about relations between elders and offspring in early modern families. Contrary to the picture historians have painted of increasingly less patriarchal and more egalitarian families, she finds numerous instances of fathers, mothers, and other relatives (including older siblings) employing physical violence and psychological pressure to compel adolescents into entering religion. Dramatic tales from the archives show that many victims of such violence remained so intimidated that they dared t petition the pope until the agents of force and fear had died, by which time they themselves were middle-aged. Schutte's invative book will be of great interest to scholars of early modern Europe, especially those who work on religion, the Church, family, and gender.
- Author BiographyAnne Jacobson Schutte is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Aspiring Saints: Pretense of Holiness, Inquisition, and Gender in the Republic of Venice, 1618-1750 and Pier Paolo Vergerio: The Making of an Italian Reformer and coeditor of several books, including Time, Space, and Women's Lives in Early Modern Europe.
- Author(s)Anne Jacobson Schutte
- PublisherCornell University Press
- Date of Publication07/07/2011
- SubjectReligion: Comparative, General & Reference
- Place of PublicationIthaca
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintCornell University Press
- Content Note25
- Weight599 g
- Width155 mm
- Height234 mm
- Spine18 mm
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