Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-v

Contents

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p. vi

List of figures

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p. vii

List of tables

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p. viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book developed from my PhD thesis and took several more years to complete. I first came across the French Prophets about ten years ago during a research visit to the British Library and I immediately decided this would be the subject of my PhD Ten years later, I am still...

List of abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Note on style and dates

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p. xiii

All quotations from manuscripts and printed primary sources are rendered in their original spelling.
The Le Sage papers in Geneva consist essentially of notes written on the backs of playing cards and are therefore referred to by the figure and suit they correspond to...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

The long eighteenth century is generally associated with the Enlightenment, an intellectual golden age that established rationalism as the basis of modern thinking. Proponents of this philosophical revolution engaged in the development of sciences and attempted...

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1. The origins of the French Prophets

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pp. 16-42

The story of the French Prophets did not start in London in 1706, but some twenty years earlier in the southern French province of Languedoc. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 marked a major turning point in French history, causing the exile of tens of thousands...

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2. From the Désert to the New Jerusalem

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pp. 43-77

Fage, Cavalier and Marion most certainly experienced a major culture shock when they arrived in London from the Cévennes via Geneva. That they settled in west London suggests that their first contacts were among the privileged classes.1 The first assemblies in the summer...

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3. The final reformation

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pp. 78-120

Upon their arrival in London, Fage, Cavalier and Marion began prophesying in front of a small audience of Huguenot refugees and sympathisers with the French Protestant cause. They exhorted to immediate repentance and announced the fall of the Antichrist soon...

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4. Going public

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pp. 121-165

The late Stuart era reintroduced a degree of freedom England had not seen since the Interregnum. Political journalism flourished after the Licensing Act lapsed in 1695. The end of press censorship enabled the growth of newspapers to outpace the 25 per cent expansion...

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5. Enthusiasm, blasphemy and toleration

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pp. 166-203

Because they first attracted respectable gentlemen among their ranks, the French Prophets were rapidly perceived as mind corrupters, religious perverters and social disrupters to the point of making the tolerated ‘intolerable’. Soon after initiating a battle of pamphlets, the...

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6. Medicalising enthusiasm

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pp. 204-242

As the Enlightenment smear-word par excellence, enthusiasm first evolved, as we have seen, from a religious issue to a perceived social threat. By the turn of the eighteenth century, it also became problematised in medical terms under the impulse of the scientific revolution...

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Conclusion

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pp. 243-249

The controversy around the French Prophets, short-lived and intense as it was, does not do justice to the legacy of their movement. In fact, it only covers their first few years of public existence, mostly in a joint propaganda campaign to discredit them. Scholars have often drawn...

Appendix: Chronological profile of the French Prophets

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pp. 250-284

Bibliography

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pp. 285-344

Index

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pp. 345-354