Victorian Reformation: The Fight Over Idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860

Hardcover | April 24, 2009

byDominic Janes

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In early Victorian England there was intense interest in understanding the early Church as an inspiration for contemporary sanctity. This was manifested in a surge in archaeological inquiry and also in the construction of new churches using medieval models. Some Anglicans began to use a muchmore complicated form of ritual involving vestments, candles, and incense. This "Anglo-Catholic" movement was vehemently opposed by evangelicals and dissenters, who saw this as the vanguard of full-blown "popery." The disputed buildings, objects, and art works were regarded by one side as idolatrousand by the other as sacred and beautiful expressions of devotion. Dominic Janes seeks to understand the fierce passions that were unleashed by the contended practices and artifacts - passions that found expression in litigation, in rowdy demonstrations, and even in physical violence. During thisperiod, Janes observes, the wider culture was preoccupied with the idea of pollution caused by improper sexuality. The Anglo-Catholics had formulated a spiritual ethic that linked goodness and beauty. Their opponents saw this visual worship as dangerously sensual. In effect, this sacred materialculture was seen as a sexual fetish. The origins of this understanding, Janes shows, lay in radical circles, often in the context of the production of anti-Catholic pornography which titillated with the contemplation of images of licentious priests, nuns, and monks.

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In early Victorian England there was intense interest in understanding the early Church as an inspiration for contemporary sanctity. This was manifested in a surge in archaeological inquiry and also in the construction of new churches using medieval models. Some Anglicans began to use a muchmore complicated form of ritual involving ves...

Dominic Janes is a Lecturer in Art History at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:April 24, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195378512

ISBN - 13:9780195378511

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations1. Introduction: Victorian ReformationIdolatry and Fetishism2. Art and SacramentRitualism3. Riots and Trials in London, 1840-1860Bennett, 1843-51Liddell, 1851-574. Satan Transformed: Comparative Religion'Primitive' Religion from Rome to HomeBodies of ChristThe Horror is all Mine5. Gothic NoveltiesFacing CorruptionTexts and Profits6. Conclusion: The Convenient DespotBibliographyIndex