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BOOK REVIEWS109 CarroU then reviews the development ofthe cult ofthe dead, in which he distinguishes devotion to the souls in purgatory from a devotion to the skeletons ofplague victims. CarroU renews his argument for the centraUty ofthe CounterReformation in the rise of the cult of the dead, and sees this period as crucial also for the rapid growth of cults dedicated to reUcs. As Ln Madonnas That Maim, CarroU sees the "chiese ricettizie," groups of priests Ln southern Italy who held church property in common, as a key institution which helped insulate local parishes and their devotions from the reforming impulses generated byTrent. In his final substantive chapter CarroU reviews the cults dedicated to "incorruptible" saintly bodies, and argues convincingly that these "provided a concrete metaphor for thinking about the organizational unity of the Church that had been lost during the Reformation" (p. 224). In his conclusion CarroU defends the concept of national character, and attempts to link what he sees as the characteristicaUy Italian devotion to madonnine images to a national propensity to mix natural and supernatural derived from "strong unconscious oral erotic desires that predispose ItaUans towards models of thinking that emphasize incorporation" (p. 233)ยท Carroll's last point is admittedly speculative, as are many of his other arguments . Readers will find much to argue with in what Carroll has to say. Perhaps because of his training in sociology he frequentiy uses theory to move weU beyond what his evidence seems to bear. Despite some brief attempt at comparative work, his claims for the unique quality of Italian Catholicism can only be verified by a closer scrutiny ofpopular devotions elsewhere. In his emphasis on the power of popular beUef to shape officiai CathoUcism CarroU sometimes seems to suggest that clerical responses were merely pragmatic, and in general I found the distinctions between the two exaggerated. CarroU sets out to subvert an argument that religion trickles down from the top, but his model sometimes seems to be a simple reversal of this rather than the more complex dialogue that also emerges at times from this work. Veiled Threats is a rich, stimulating , and provocative work that deserves the attention of historians interested in the dynamics of religious change in modern Europe. Thomas Kselman University ofNotre Dame English Sermons: Mirrors of Society. Edited with introduction by Christiane d' Haussy. (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du MiraU. 1995. Pp. 224. 150 FE) If one were asked to propose the subject least likely to appeal to modern readers in any western country at the present time, it is likely that without much reflection one could come to rest on church sermons. Nevertheless, Dr. d'Haussy's book is a useful reminder that this was not always so; and if contemporary historians wish to understand the spirit of past times, and more particularly the reaction of the people and populace to contemporary events, they 110BOOK REVIEWS must attend to what the clergy were declaiming in the pulpits in church and chapel across the country. There was not only an element of social and even legal compulsion driving people to church but also the magnet of genuine curiosity since in the days before broadcasting the only opportunity for most people to hear and in a sense witness eloquence and elocution was in reUgious assemblies on Sundays.The spiritual and the secular mingled in a way which was perhaps more reaUstic than efforts Ln our own day to cut them off. Religion was not always just for Sunday, and its contents were by no means exclusively concerned with the words of Holy Writ. Many were the volumes of sermons published in time past. D'Haussy has performed a most valuable service for historians in offering us not merely notes and summaries ofwhat was said but very large excerpts from the original so that we can savor the full flavor and, as it were be present, sometimes after centuries, at the outpourings not only ofemotions but also of genuine convictions with a good mixture of facts. A criticism of this exceUent book, which begins with an introduction on "Preaching and preachers in Britain" (pp. 21-49), could be that it has no adequate index. On the other hand...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 109-110
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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