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Catholicism, Identity and Politics in the Age of Enlightenment : The Life and Career of Sir Thomas
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This book explores the changing aspirations, attitudes and identities of English Catholics in the late eighteenth century, a period which marked a critical moment of transition for English Catholics in their spiritual, political and intellectual culture. It is based on the experiences of the English Catholic baronet, Grand Tourist and politician, Sir Thomas Gascoigne (1745-1810). Gascoigne was born on the Continent into a staunchly Catholic Yorkshire-based family; however, following an unusual Continental upbringing and a ten-year Grand Tour to the courts of Catholic Europe, he would abjure his faith for a seat in Parliament. By examining the experiences of Gascoigne and his milieu, this book explores English Catholic attitudes towards continental Catholicism, the influence of the European Enlightenment upon their education and outlook, and how this affected their approach to their faith and their conception of national identity. It demonstrates how increased toleration entailed a gradual rejection amongst English Catholics of a pious separatism for a more ecumenical and, ultimately, Enlightened approach to faith. Although this risked the loss of English Catholics to Anglicanism, many - like Gascoigne - remained crypto-Catholic in sympathy. They adapted their faith to the Enlightenment and regarded it as a matter of personal conviction and private choice. ALEXANDER LOCK is Researcher in the Department of History and Classics at the British Library.
Number of Pages: 270
Series Title: Studies in Modern British Religious History
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Inc
Author: Alexander Lock
Street Date: September 15, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-35-9958
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