Event

Katherine Moran, St. Louis University

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Confessional Crossings: American Protestants, Italian Catholicism, and the Rejection of the anti-Catholic Gothic, Katherine D. Moran

In 1876, writer and editor Thomas Bailey Aldrich published an account of his visit to a “Certain Old Gentleman” in Rome: a “gentle . . . figure” with “the face of a man who had led a temperate, blameless private life.” Aldrich, a Unitarian, was describing Pope Pius IX. This paper examines American Protestant narratives of travel to post-Risorgimento Italy, placing them within the context of U.S. debates about the place of Roman Catholicism in the modern nation state. It argues that Protestant travelers' newly sympathetic depictions of the pope and monks entailed a rejection and inversion of the anti-Catholic Gothic and revealed how evolving U.S. concerns about social order were bound up with emergent calls for cross-confessional toleration.

Respondent: Ralph Keen, The University of Illinois at Chicago