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The Old Enemies

The Old Enemies
Catholic and Protestant in Nineteenth-Century English Culture


  • Date Published: February 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521828109

£ 80.99

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About the Authors
  • Divisions between Catholics and Protestants have been a feature of English history since the Reformation. Even into the industrial nineteenth century, age-old theological disagreements were the cause of religious and cultural conflicts. The Old Enemies asks why these ancient divisions were so deep, why they continued into the nineteenth century and how novelists and poets, theologians and preachers, historians and essayists reinterpreted the religious debates. Michael Wheeler, a leading authority on the literature and theology of the period, explains how each side misunderstood the other's deeply held beliefs about history, authority, doctrine and spirituality, and, conversely, how these theological conflicts were a source of inspiration and creativity in the arts. This wide-ranging, well-illustrated study sheds light on nineteenth-century history, literature and religion.

    • A wide-ranging interdisciplinary overview of the Catholic-Protestant conflict in Victorian England
    • Examines in depth how nineteenth-century writers were inspired by religious controversies
    • Author is a leading scholar in the field of literature and religion in the period
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'This engrossing book … can be recommended as an authoritative, readable study of a neglected area of English cultural history.' Damian Thompson, The Daily Telegraph

    Review of the hardback: 'Professor Wheeler has written a magisterial work whose erudition is signposted not only by innumerable footnotes, but by a 46-page bibliography. He wears his learning lightly, however; and his book can be recommended to anyone anxious to learn more abut the cultural backdrop to the unfolding ecclesiastical events of the 19th century.' Church Times

    Review of the hardback: 'Michael Wheeler's cultural battleground, in this highly accomplished survey, witnesses the clash between Catholicism and Protestantism in the English psyche. … Much of what is written here … is not new but is presented with freshness and insight. … As is to be expected, the production of this book by Cambridge University Press is exemplary …' New Directions

    Review of the hardback: '… Professor Wheeler is a genial and authoritative guide to Victorian religion, society and literature. His book weaves effortlessly from church history to politics, from philosophy to fine art, from architecture to the historical novel. He makes us feel at home amidst the clamour of the 'war of tongues' (to borrow Cardinal Newman's famous phrase) as if we were at the breakfast table, harrumphing over tracts and newspaper reports for the first time.' True Principles

    Review of the hardback: 'Michael Wheeler's book is inter-disciplinary in the best senses of the world offering a rich, detailed and multi-layered exploration ranging across the fields of evolutionary biology, history, scripture, poetry, illustrated journalism and high Christian theology … well illustrated … the study is admirably complete in taking the consideration of the subject to the century's end … this is a thoughtful study whose contemporary resonance remains all too painfully clear.' Contemporary Review

    Review of the hardback: 'Wheeler's account is beautifully written, and based upon an impressive knowledge of Victorian England.' Expository Times

    Review of the hardback: 'The Old Enemies is a book of exhilaratingly wide scope, demonstrating, among much else, how the history of the Early Church, the Reformation and more recent generations was imaginatively appropriated in that period to give resonance to contemporary doctrinal controversies, and how the debate between liberalism and dogma, centring on the definition of papal infallibility undertaken at the Vatican Council of 1869–70, was addressed …' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'Professor Wheeler brings together a number of very valuable contemporary illustrations of the Catholic-Protestant debate, which can certainly be used as a useful quarry for further work on the topic.' Theology

    Review of the hardback: '…his richly documented study of the controversies of the period. …It is an authoritative and intelligent study of misunderstanding prolonged by prejudice. …The richness of his reading bears fruit in lucid findings. He has read and consulted many books of which his readers will not have heard. Scholars will be in debt to him for his discoveries in unfrequented fields. …There will be very few if any scholars who will not learn a good deal from this book.' The Downside Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2006
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521828109
    • length: 370 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: 'Papal aggression'
    Part I. Bloody Histories:
    2. On the origin of churches
    3. England drawn and quartered
    4. Jacobite claims and London mobs
    Part II. Creeds and Crises:
    5. The fortress of Christianity
    6. Out of the war of tongues
    7. Authority on the rocks
    Part III. Cultural Spaces:
    8. Maiden and mother
    9. Liberalism and dogma
    10. Painful epiphanies

  • Author

    Michael Wheeler

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