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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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Becoming Religious Foreigners

Becoming Religious Foreigners

(p.47) 2 Becoming Religious Foreigners
Reforming French Culture

George Hoffmann

Oxford University Press

French reformers shared language, culture, and tradition with their unreformed neighbors. To distinguish themselves, they began by caricaturing Roman rites as foreign: imported from Italy, they proved arcane, superstitious, and pagan. In an era of overlapping jurisdictions when “foreign” did not possess the clear cut it does today, reformers fashioned a stark sense of “outsider” culture through reworking the terms of barbarian, savage, stranger, and exotic. The fantastic voyage device coordinated all these elements, but it also worked to make the reformer ultimately a stranger in a strange land. Reformers’ own sense of themselves as foreigners in France deepened their investment in the Pauline imperative to be “in the world but not of it,” thus creating a lushly imaginative experience of spiritual alienation.

Keywords:   Pierre Viret, Lucian, foreignness, Turk, barbarian, savage, stranger, fantastic voyage (trope), spiritual alienation, refugee Reformation

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