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Reforming French CultureSatire, Spiritual Alienation, and Connection to Strangers$
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George Hoffmann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808763.001.0001

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Background: Purging an Unreformed Past

Background: Purging an Unreformed Past

(p.20) 1 Background: Purging an Unreformed Past
Reforming French Culture

George Hoffmann

Oxford University Press

Reformation satire grew out of the humanist reinvigoration of classical models but abandoned their convivial tone when reformers targeted Roman Eucharistic worship. Insofar as the Eucharist symbolized the social body, attacks against it could only be understood by readers as attacks against themselves. Iconoclasm drove reformers to this measure because the doctrine of “real presence” authorized reformers’ (disputed) charges of Roman idolatry. Efforts to mock the consequences of this doctrine pushed satires to vulgar and scatological extremes. The result proved an inimical posture which invalidated these works’ purported claims to persuade readers, making them instead serve as rites of passage by which reformers assumed an antagonistic role with respect to moderate French Gallicans.

Keywords:   Conrad Badius, iconoclasm, humanist satire, Erasmus, Julius exclusus, Reformation debates, defamation as ritual, Eucharistic controversy, clerical humor, Guillaume Farel

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