Faithful Passages: American Catholicism In Literary Culture, 1844?1931

Paperback | March 15, 2013

byJames Emmett Ryan

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Roman Catholic writers in colonial America played only a minority role in debates about religion, politics, morality, national identity, and literary culture. However, the commercial print revolution of the nineteenth century, combined with the arrival of many European Catholic immigrants, provided a vibrant evangelical nexus in which Roman Catholic print discourse would thrive among a tightly knit circle of American writers and readers. James Emmett Ryan’s pathbreaking study follows the careers of important nineteenth-century religionists including Orestes Brownson, Isaac Hecker, Anna Hanson Dorsey, and Cardinal James Gibbons, tracing the distinctive literature that they created during the years that non-Catholic writers like Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson were producing iconic works of American literature.
    Faithful Passages also reveals new dimensions in American religious literary culture by moving beyond the antebellum period to consider how the first important cohort of Catholic writers shaped their message for subsequent generations of readers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Perhaps most strikingly, Ryan shows that by the early twentieth century, Roman Catholic themes and traditions in American literature would be advanced in complex ways by mainstream, non-Catholic modernist writers like Kate Chopin and Willa Cather.
    Catholic literary culture in the United States took shape in a myriad of ways and at the hands of diverse participants. The process by which Roman Catholic ideas, themes, and moralities were shared and adapted by writers with highly differentiated beliefs, Ryan contends, illuminates a surprising fluidity of religious commitment and expression in early U.S. literary culture.

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Roman Catholic writers in colonial America played only a minority role in debates about religion, politics, morality, national identity, and literary culture. However, the commercial print revolution of the nineteenth century, combined with the arrival of many European Catholic immigrants, provided a vibrant evangelical nexus in which ...

James Emmett Ryan is associate professor of English at Auburn University. His publications in American literature and culture include Imaginary Friends: Representing Quakers in American Culture, 1650–1950, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

other books by James Emmett Ryan

Format:PaperbackDimensions:258 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:March 15, 2013Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299290646

ISBN - 13:9780299290641

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
1 Orestes Brownson in Young America: Popular Books and Catholic Criticism
2 Father Hecker's Eclectic Americanism
3 Entering the Mainstream: The Fiction of Jedediah Huntington and Anna Hanson Dorsey
4 Sentimental Catechism: James Gibbons and Literary Devotionalism
5 Trading Evangelism for Feminism: Kate O'Flaherty Chopin's Bayou Catholics
6 "A Kind Woman in Heaven": Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop
Conclusion: Literary Catholicism and the Modern Turn
 
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Ryan’s scholarship is impressive. . . . To be sure, this is an important, elegantly written work—necessary reading for any student of American Catholic culture. . . . Faithful Passages lays the groundwork for closer readings of these and many other writers.”—Catholic Historical Review