25 May 2020
By Elizabeth C. Tingle. Series: Research in Medieval and Early Modern Culture.
The publication examines long-distance pilgrimages to ancient, international shrines in northwestern Europe in the two centuries after Luther. In this region in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, saints’ cults and pilgrimage were frequently contested, more so than in the Mediterranean world. France, the Low Countries and the British Isles were places of disputation and hostility between Protestant and Catholic; sacred landscapes and journeys came under attack and in some regions, were outlawed by the state. Taking as case studies hugely popular medieval shrines such as Compostela, the Mont Saint-Michel and Lough Derg, the impact of Protestant criticism and Catholic revival on shrines, pilgrims’ motives and experiences is examined through life writings, devotional works and institutional records. The central focus is that of agency in religious change: what drove spiritual reform and what were its consequences for the ‘ordinary’ Catholic? This is explored through concepts of the religious self, holy materiality, and sacred space.