Jazz Age Catholicism: Mystic Modernism in Postwar Paris, 1919-1933

By Stephen Schloesser

© 2005

Following the Great War’s devastation, innovative movements in France offered competing visions of a revitalized national body and a new world order. One of these was the postwar Catholic revival or renouveau catholique. Since the church had historically been the dominant religious force in France, its turn of the century separation from the state was especially bitter. For many Catholics, the 1914–18 sacrifices made on the Republic’s behalf necessitated its postwar ‘re-Christianization.’ However, in their attempt to reconcile Catholicism with culture, revivalists needed to abandon old oppositions and adapt religion’s rigging to the prevailing winds of modernity.

Stephen Schloesser’s Jazz Age Catholicism shows how a postwar generation of Catholics refashioned traditional notions of sacramentalism in modern language and imagery. Jacques Maritain’s philosophy, Georges Rouault’s visual art, Georges Bernanos’s fiction, and Charles Tournemire’s music all reclothed ancient tropes in new fashions. By the late 1920s, the renouveau catholique had successfully positioned Catholic intellectual and cultural discourse at the very centre of elite French life. Its synthesis of Catholicism and culture would define the religiosity of many throughout Western Europe and the Americas into the 1960s.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.6in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP000006

  • PUBLISHED JUN 2005

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    Regular Price: $114.00

    ISBN 9780802087188
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    Regular Price: $131.00

Quick Overview

Stephen Schloesser’s Jazz Age Catholicism shows how a postwar generation of Catholics refashioned traditional notions of sacramentalism in modern language and imagery.

Jazz Age Catholicism: Mystic Modernism in Postwar Paris, 1919-1933

By Stephen Schloesser

© 2005

Following the Great War’s devastation, innovative movements in France offered competing visions of a revitalized national body and a new world order. One of these was the postwar Catholic revival or renouveau catholique. Since the church had historically been the dominant religious force in France, its turn of the century separation from the state was especially bitter. For many Catholics, the 1914–18 sacrifices made on the Republic’s behalf necessitated its postwar ‘re-Christianization.’ However, in their attempt to reconcile Catholicism with culture, revivalists needed to abandon old oppositions and adapt religion’s rigging to the prevailing winds of modernity.

Stephen Schloesser’s Jazz Age Catholicism shows how a postwar generation of Catholics refashioned traditional notions of sacramentalism in modern language and imagery. Jacques Maritain’s philosophy, Georges Rouault’s visual art, Georges Bernanos’s fiction, and Charles Tournemire’s music all reclothed ancient tropes in new fashions. By the late 1920s, the renouveau catholique had successfully positioned Catholic intellectual and cultural discourse at the very centre of elite French life. Its synthesis of Catholicism and culture would define the religiosity of many throughout Western Europe and the Americas into the 1960s.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.6in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Schloesser's work is an exemplar for musicologists of a passionate interdisciplinary navigation through a historical puzzle: the politicization of modern art through Christian renewal. As such it is an invaluable narrative and pre-history for scholars of twentieth century French music.’
    Robert Sholl
    Music and Letters, vol 93:01:2012
  • Author Information

    Stephen Schloesser is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Boston College.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction A Refusal to Quarantine the Sacred
    Prologue Realism, Eternalism, Spiritual Naturalism

    Part One: From Dualism to Dialectic
    1 Cultural Manicheanism: Apocalyptic Melodrama
    2 Trauma and Memorial: Repatriating the Repressed
    3 Mystic Realism: A Faith That Faced the Facts

    Part Two: Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Cultural Hylomorphism
    4 Ultramodernist Anti-modernism: Neoclassical Catholicism
    5 Catholic Catholicity: Nothing Human Is Alien

    Part Three: Mystic Modernism: Catholic Visions of the Real
    6 Georges Rouault: Masked Redemption
    7 Georges Bernanos: Passionate Supernaturalism
    8 Charles Tournemire: Mystical Dissonance

    Abbreviations 323
    Notes 325
    Index 421