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Music and post-Reformation English Catholics : place, sociability, and space, 1570-1640

This project sets out to enhance scholarly understanding of English Catholicism from 1570-1640. It begins with the unusual, unanswered, and vital question: what did it sound like to be a Catholic? By utilising music in the broadest sense possible to include vocal and instrumental sounds, performance, composition and the material culture of music, this thesis sheds new light on what it meant to be Catholic in post-Reformation England. The lives of English Catholics are unimaginable without music. Investigating Catholic exiles predominantly focused around the convents and seminaries established in the Spanish Netherlands, this thesis argues that the “soundscapes” of these institutions were crucial. Through music, exiles defined for themselves a sense of ‘place’ despite their detachment from England, and differentiated themselves within the European political landscape. In exploring their musical links with England, this thesis also challenges the prevailing view that English Catholic exiles were somehow different from Catholics living in England. By investigating forms of ‘sociability’, this thesis unearths the sounds of Catholic communities at home. The English Catholic community was undoubtedly multifaceted, and yet by using music Catholics were united in forms of expression. Through composing and singing they exhorted their pious, social and political response to living as a member of an underground religion. The final section of this thesis draws the focus in to explore Catholic response to direct forms of persecution, and reveals the ways Catholics creatively used music in their devotions in order to transform and appropriate ‘space’. Focussing on the interaction between groups and individuals, the relationship between individual and communal identity, and above all the adaptation of Catholic piety and the construction of devotional identities, this thesis reveals a more nuanced picture of what it meant to be an English Catholic in the late Elizabethan and early Stuart period.
Date January 2014
CreatorsMurphy, Emilie K. M.
PublisherUniversity of York
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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