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Escaped Nuns – True Womanhood and the Campaign Against Convents in Antebellum America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Escaped Nuns: True Womanhood and the Campaign Against Convents in Antebellum America

Cassandra L. Yacovazzi

Abstract

Just five weeks after its publication in January 1836, Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery sold over 20,000 copies. By “escaped nun,” Maria Monk, the book provided a shocking exposé of convent life, from licentious priests to tortured nuns to infanticide. Despite Maria Monk’s unveiling as an imposter, her book went on to become the second bestseller before the Civil War, after Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Far from representing a curious aberration, Monk’s book was part of a larger phenomenon, involving riots, propaganda, and politics. The campaign against convents was intimately connected with c ... More

Keywords: nuns, convents, print culture, anti-Catholicism, nativism, gender, women, antebellum, Catholicism, captivity narrative

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190881009
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190881009.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Cassandra L. Yacovazzi, author
Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Department of History, University of Missouri, Columbia