Glorious Battle: The Cultural Politics of Victorian Anglo-Catholicism

John Shelton Reed, Author Vanderbilt University Press $34.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8265-1274-1
John Henry Newman, John Keble and E.B. Pusey spearheaded the Oxford Tractarians' movement that brought on the Church of England's bloodless civil war in the latter two-thirds of the 19th century. The campaign of this new Anglo-Catholic faction of the High Church proposed to bring the Church of England back to its roots. The Low and evangelical factions saw the movement not as a renaissance but as a reversion to dreaded Roman Catholicism. Though scholarly and professorially deadpan, Reed, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina and author of several books on the American South, has an attractive affection for his subject: particularly its famous and famously oddball figures, polemical language and political irony. He suggests that the movement developed like other ideological revolutions and shows how it settled, ironically enough, within a few generations, from its radical origins into place as part of the Establishment. That is, as Reed sums up, ""Anglo-Catholicism had become increasingly conventional, almost respectable. By the 1890s most Anglo-Catholics plainly regarded this fact as a triumph. But it could also have been seen as the ultimate indignity."" The real hero of the story, though Reed doesn't directly say so, is Victorian society, which, for all its rigidity, conservatism, sexism and blustering self-righteousness, was, finally, like its greatest novelist, Anthony Trollope, wonderfully and unexpectedly tolerant, progressive and accommodating. Glorious Battle is an engaging work for students and scholars of history, social and religious movements and Victorian literature. Illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 396 pages - 978-0-8265-1380-9
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-85191-237-0
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