Catalogue


Fortress of the soul : violence, metaphysics, and material life in the Huguenots' new world, 1517-1751 /
Neil Kamil.
imprint
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c2005.
description
xxiv, 1058 p.
ISBN
0801873908 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
series title
imprint
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c2005.
isbn
0801873908 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5335407
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-12-01:
The author delves into "the working relationships between words and things in the Huguenots' New World." He pays thorough attention to the French side of the story, but most of the study deals with the ways in which the minority Huguenots "began to transform the style and structure of artisanry throughout the courts and colonies of international Protestantism." Kamil (Univ. of Texas) not only shows how this transformation occurred, but also weaves into the story the influence of an often-confusing Calvinistic conscience. In support of his ideas, the volume is generously fleshed out with numerous detailed drawings, blueprints, figures, and maps, as well as brief identification of hundreds who lived during the time. This is a weighty tome indeed--more than six pounds and over 1,000 pages, of which 100-plus are notes. This work is not for the faint of heart. But for experienced students of this period in Atlantic history or for curators of collections built upon the Huguenots in the New World, this work would be a valuable reference in any library. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students and up. S. A. Syme Coastal Carolina University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An absolutely brilliant, seminal, forefront work. Neil Kamil combines the deepest kind of erudition with a one-in-a-thousand level of sheer intellectual creativity. Most striking is the disciplinary range of this work: material culture analysis, demography, genealogy, geography, textual exegesis, ethnography, as well as more conventional forms of political, military, religious, and economic history. All are here in various contexts and proportions. Kamil's overall touch is so sure and deft that the reader is barely aware of these numerous methodological crossings. His prose is remarkably effective as well. Even where the ideas are complex and difficult, the words are simple, direct, and forceful."--John P. Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of American History, Yale University
"This lavish volume presents a wide-ranging and complex reading of its rather amorphous subject." -- Carla Gardina Pestana, Journal of American History
Throughout, the Fortress of the Soul displays considerable erudition and substantial energy.
"Throughout, the Fortress of the Soul displays considerable erudition and substantial energy." -- Raymond A. Mentzer, Sixteenth Century Journal
Well-researched tome that is 'the story of a subterranean culture on the move, its membership fragmented by chronic warfare, exclusion, and political instability and actively in search of new modes of security.'
"Well-researched tome that is 'the story of a subterranean culture on the move, its membership fragmented by chronic warfare, exclusion, and political instability and actively in search of new modes of security.'"-- Maine Antique Digest
An absolutely brilliant, seminal, forefront work. Neil Kamil combines the deepest kind of erudition with a one-in-a-thousand level of sheer intellectual creativity. Most striking is the disciplinary range of this work: material culture analysis, demography, genealogy, geography, textual exegesis, ethnography, as well as more conventional forms of political, military, religious, and economic history. All are here in various contexts and proportions. Kamil's overall touch is so sure and deft that the reader is barely aware of these numerous methodological crossings. His prose is remarkably effective as well. Even where the ideas are complex and difficult, the words are simple, direct, and forceful.
Imaginative and innovative treatment of the French Reformation.
"Imaginative and innovative treatment of the French Reformation." -- Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, Renaissance Quarterly
It is clear that this study will be a landmark study, a monument in the intellectual and material history of the early modern Atlantic world.
"It is clear that this study will be a landmark study, a monument in the intellectual and material history of the early modern Atlantic world." -- John L. Brooke, Winterthur Portfolio
Kamil's innovative historical monograph richly deserves to be described as interdisciplinary.
"Kamil's innovative historical monograph richly deserves to be described as interdisciplinary." -- Journal of Interdisciplinary History
This lavish volume presents a wide-ranging and complex reading of its rather amorphous subject.
Fortress of the Soul ... opens up prospects for new directions in early American scholarship.
Fortress of the Soul... opens up prospects for new directions in early American scholarship.
"Fortress of the Soul... opens up prospects for new directions in early American scholarship." -- Mark A. Peterson, William and Mary Quarterly
"Fortress of the Soul demands deep respect from its readers... quite evidently the product of decades of scholarly labor." -- Glenn Adamson, Studies in the Decorative Arts
"A monumental work on a number of levels." -- Mary Henninger-Voss, Technology and Culture
Fortress of the Soul demands deep respect from its readers... quite evidently the product of decades of scholarly labor.
A brilliant, controversial book, full of fireworks, some real Huguenot rockets, and some metaphysical damp squibs.
"A brilliant, controversial book, full of fireworks, some real Huguenot rockets, and some metaphysical damp squibs." -- Mark Greengrass, Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain & Ireland
Ambitious in its goals, complex in its interpretation and methodology, and groundbreaking in its approach.
"Ambitious in its goals, complex in its interpretation and methodology, and groundbreaking in its approach." -- Gayle K. Brunelle, Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
A monumental work on a number of levels.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2005
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Summaries
Main Description
French Huguenots made enormous contributions to the life and culture of colonial New York during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Huguenot craftsmen were the city's most successful artisans, turning out unrivaled works of furniture which were distinguished by unique designs and arcane details. More than just decorative flourishes, however, the visual language employed by Huguenot artisans reflected a distinct belief system shaped during the religious wars of sixteenth-century France. In Fortress of the Soul , historian Neil Kamil traces the Huguenots' journey to New York from the Aunis-Saintonge region of southwestern France. There, in the sixteenth century, artisans had created a subterranean culture of clandestine workshops and meeting places inspired by the teachings of Bernard Palissy, a potter, alchemist, and philosopher who rejected the communal, militaristic ideology of the Huguenot majority which was centered in the walled city of La Rochelle. Palissy and his followers instead embraced a more fluid, portable, and discrete religious identity that encouraged members to practice their beliefs in secret while living safely -- even prospering -- as artisans in hostile communities. And when these artisans first fled France for England and Holland, then left Europe for America, they carried with them both their skills and their doctrine of artisanal security. Drawing on significant archival research and fresh interpretations of Huguenot material culture, Kamil offers an exhaustive and sophisticated study of the complex worldview of the Huguenot community. From the function of sacred violence and alchemy in the visual language of Huguenot artisans, to the impact among Protestants everywhere of the destruction of La Rochelle in 1628, to the ways in which New York's Huguenots interacted with each other and with other communities of religious dissenters and refugees, Fortress of the Soul brilliantly places American colonial history and material life firmly within the larger context of the early modern Atlantic world.
Main Description
French Huguenots made enormous contributions to the life and culture of colonial New York during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Huguenot craftsmen were the city's most successful artisans, turning out unrivaled works of furniture which were distinguished by unique designs and arcane details. More than just decorative flourishes, however, the visual language employed by Huguenot artisans reflected a distinct belief system shaped during the religious wars of sixteenth-century France. In Fortress of the Soul, historian Neil Kamil traces the Huguenots' journey to New York from the Aunis-Saintonge region of southwestern France. There, in the sixteenth century, artisans had created a subterranean culture of clandestine workshops and meeting places inspired by the teachings of Bernard Palissy, a potter, alchemist, and philosopher who rejected the communal, militaristic ideology of the Huguenot majority which was centered in the walled city of La Rochelle. Palissy and his followers instead embraced a more fluid, portable, and discrete religious identity that encouraged members to practice their beliefs in secret while living safely -- even prospering -- as artisans in hostile communities. And when these artisans first fled France for England and Holland, then left Europe for America, they carried with them both their skills and their doctrine of artisanal security. Drawing on significant archival research and fresh interpretations of Huguenot material culture, Kamil offers an exhaustive and sophisticated study of the complex worldview of the Huguenot community. From the function of sacred violence and alchemy in the visual language of Huguenot artisans, to the impact among Protestants everywhere of the destruction of La Rochelle in 1628, to the ways in which New York's Huguenots interacted with each other and with other communities of religious dissenters and refugees, Fortress of the Soul brilliantly places American colonial history and material life firmly within the larger context of the early modern Atlantic world.
Table of Contents
The art of the earth
A risky gift : the entrance of Charles IX into La Rochelle in 1565p. 15
Palissy's fortress : the construction of artisanal securityp. 52
Personal history and "spiritual honor" : Philibert Hamelin's consideration of straight lines and the rehabilitation of the Nicodemite as Huguenot artisan of securityp. 100
War and Surete : the context of artisanal enthusiasm in Aunis-Saintongep. 125
Scenes of reading : rustic artisans and the diffusion of Paracelsian discourses to new worldsp. 171
American rustic scenes : Bernard Palissy, John Winthrop the Younger, and Benjamin Franklinp. 242
The river and Nebuchadnezzar's dream : war, separation, "the sound," and the materiality of timep. 277
The art of the earthp. 316
The fragmentation of the body
"In Patientia Sauvitas," or, the invisible fortress departsp. 389
Being "at the Ile of Rue" : science, secrecy, and security at the Siege of La Rochelle, 1627-1635p. 409
The geography of "your native country" : relocation of spatial identity to the New World, 1628-1787p. 461
La Rochelle's transatlantic body : the commons debates of 1628p. 508
"Fraudulent father-Frenchmen" : the Huguenot counterfeit and the threat to England's internal securityp. 544
"The destruction that wasteth at noonday" : Hogarth's Hog Lane and the Huguenot fortress of memoryp. 562
The secrets of the craft
Hidden in plain sight : disappearance and material life in colonial New Yorkp. 711
Fragments of Huguenot-Quaker convergence in New York : little histories (Avignon, France, 1601-1602; Flushing, Long Island, 1657-1726)p. 767
Reflections on a three-legged chair : sundials, "family pieces," and political culture in pre-revolutionary New Yorkp. 906
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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