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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Who Got to a Nunnery?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0167  Thursday, 27 January 2005

[1]     From:   Fran Barasch <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 09:29:35 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0140 Who Got to a Nunnery?

[2]     From:   Jim Lake <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 10:01:24 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?

[3]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Wed, 26 Jan 2005 19:48:27 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Barasch <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 09:29:35 EST
Subject: 16.0140 Who Got to a Nunnery?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0140 Who Got to a Nunnery?

"Shakespeare's generation would've therefore only met ex-nuns." (Peter
Bridgman).

A  thought: If Shakespeare's generation read Continental books, traveled
abroad, or read of foreign travels, they would have known that, in
Catholic countries, young girls were educated in convents  until
marriages could be arranged or were signed up for life; or entered
convents upon becoming widows.

Cheers!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Lake <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 10:01:24 -0600
Subject: 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?

There are references to the subject of "female monasticism" in Margaret
L.  King's WOMEN OF THE RENAISSANCE (1991), though of course the
emphasis is upon the earlier period; nevertheless, one learns that upon
the closing of certain European convents, the sisters would sometimes
remain together, unsupported by the Church.

Best wishes,
Jim Lake

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Wed, 26 Jan 2005 19:48:27 -0000
Subject: 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0155 Who Got to a Nunnery?

D Bloom asks ...

 >Has anyone studied the mythology of compulsory enrollment, its
 >appearance in romantic literature, and its relationship to anti-Catholic
 >(in Protestant areas) and anti-clerical (in Catholic ones) attitudes?

Compulsory enrolment might have existed in medieval times.  The modern
myth however probably owes its existence to 'The Awful Disclosure of
Maria Monk', a ghost-written biography that first appeared in America in
1836.  The book described how Maria ran away from her convent because
the reverend mother forced her to "live in the practice of criminal
intercourse with priests". Nuns who did not were murdered, while the
children born from such couplings were baptised and strangled.  Maria's
story enjoyed a period of respectability when it first appeared, being
taken up by a group of Protestant clergymen.  The credibilty vanished
when Maria's mother revealed she had never been in a convent and had in
fact run away from a home for delinquent girls.

This didn't however stop the myth and the book has remained in
circulation ever since.  It was made use of by southern Republicans
during JFK's presidential campaign in 1960.  And during Ian Paisley's
early days as a preacher in Belfast, he used to produce "nuns" at his
church meetings who had, according to Paisley, run away from convents
rather than submit to unspeakable sexual acts.

Peter Bridgman

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