By Force And Fear: Taking And Breaking Monastic Vows In Early Modern Europe by Anne  Jacobson SchutteBy Force And Fear: Taking And Breaking Monastic Vows In Early Modern Europe by Anne  Jacobson Schutte

By Force And Fear: Taking And Breaking Monastic Vows In Early Modern Europe

byAnne Jacobson Schutte

Hardcover | July 7, 2011

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An 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 not petition the pope until the agents of force and fear had died, by which time they themselves were middle-aged. Schutte's innovative book will be of great interest to scholars of early modern Europe, especially those who work on religion, the Church, family, and gender.

Anne 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...
Title:By Force And Fear: Taking And Breaking Monastic Vows In Early Modern EuropeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:July 7, 2011Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801449774

ISBN - 13:9780801449772

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Table of Contents

1. Forced Monachization, 1668–1793: An Overview
2. Literary and Historiographical Contexts
3. Elders and Forced Monachization
4. Waging Law in the Congregation of the Council
5. Contracts and Fear in Monachization and Marriage
6. Witnesses to Forced Monachization
7. Degrees of Separation
8. War and Coerced Monachization
9. Continuity and Change in Forced Monachization


Editorial Reviews

"In a persistent image in literature and history, cruel fate forced women like Diderot's La Religieuse and Manzoni's nun of Monza into a convent prison. By studying 978 petitions to the pope for release from monastic vows, Anne Jacobson Schutte creates a surprising alternative vision of forced monachization. More men than women sought escape from monasteries. Sexual urges seldom prompted them or the reluctant sisters to leave. These were victims of tyrannical fathers, thrown away before the age of consent, coerced by force or fear to renounce legitimate claims on the family patrimony. Schutte masterfully recounts these gripping, tragic stories of dysfunctional families who victimized their own young. The stories make the book hard to put down, and along the way she subtly revises conceptions of the early modern self, gender roles, the family, and the Catholic Church itself."—Edward Muir, Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences, Department of History, Northwestern University