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Edmund Campion A Scholarly Life by Gerard Kilroy

Edmund Campion A Scholarly Life

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Edmund Campion A Scholarly Life by Gerard Kilroy

Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life is the response, at long last, to Evelyn Waugh's call, in 1935, for a 'scholarly biography' to replace Richard Simpson's Edmund Campion (1867). Whereas early accounts of his life focused on the execution of the Jesuit priest, this new biography presents a more balanced assessment, placing equal weight on Campion's London upbringing among printers and preachers, and on his growing stature as an orator in an Oxford riven with religious divisions. Ireland, chosen by Campion as a haven from religious conflict, is shown, paradoxically, to have determined his life and his death. Gerard Kilroy here draws on newly discovered manuscript sources to reveal Campion as a charismatic and affectionate scholar who was finding fulfilment as priest and teacher in Prague when he was summoned to lead the first Jesuit mission to England. The book argues that the delays in his long journey suggest reluctant acceptance, even before he was told that Dr Nicholas Sander had brought 'holy war' to Ireland, so that Campion landed in an England that was preparing for papal invasion. The book offers fresh insights into the dramatic search for Campion, the populist nature of the disputations in the Tower, and the legal issues raised by his torture. It was the monarchical republic itself that, in pursuit of the Anjou marriage, made him the beloved 'champion' of the English Catholic community. Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life presents the most detailed and comprehensive picture to date of an historical figure whose loyalty and courage, in the trial and on the scaffold, swiftly became legendary across Europe.


Among the many strengths of Gerard Kilroy's scrupulously researched and finely written Edmund Campion: A scholarly life is the emphasis placed on the friendship and affection that marked Campion's career and preserved his memory, and on the personal successes he attained even at the moment at which the Elizabethan state had intended to annihilate his body and reputation...His book is a contribution to the intellectual history of England and of Europe. -Peter Davidson, Times Literary Supplement In a project of extraordinary scholarly dimensions and the product of many years of interdisciplinary study across a very wide range of archives...this study, in my view, changes fundamentally our understanding of the way that Elizabethans saw the relationship between Church and State and it takes us as close to comprehending what Campion thought he was doing as we are ever likely to get...This is an extremely well written study - and likely to become a modern classic...this book is an exceptionally important intervention in the field of Reformation studies. -- Michael Questier, Queen Mary University of London, British Catholic History Kilroy's impressive research provides evocative windows into key moments of Campion's life, both relating to his extraordinary academic talent and to his great suffering... It is a biography of interest to anyone who studies the Reformations, martyrology, Jesuit history, Elizabethan political policy, recusant households, and the role of manuscript and print. But it also appeals to general readers through its gripping story of a principled, courageous person who took great care for his students, fellow priests and laity, staying true to his beliefs in spite of great odds. It will be consulted for years to come. -- Genelle Gertz, Washington and Lee University, Reformation This is now our most complete and fairest account of the Jesuit mission to England and the life of Edmund Campion in particular. --Patrick Madigan, Heythrop Journal The author has explicated and integrated previously ignored - or indeed previously unknown - archival material. Equally important is the author's exact examination of the accounts of the disputations in the Tower of London, the use of torture, and the final trial. ... a well written, well researched, and much needed biography of an important figure. --Thomas McCoog, SJ, Fordham University, USA This new biography is a worthy addition to the canon. Kilroy gives us a superbly detailed portrait of the character and qualities that made Campion so highly respected and offers a vivid insight into his spiritual life. --Simon Caldwell, Catholic Herald Gerard Kilroy has freed his subject from hagiography to produce the most historically convincing, powerful and humanly engaging portrait we have...for anyone who is interested in understanding the religious and political context that framed Campion's life or what it was that made him such a crucial figure to both sides in the propaganda war between Catholics and Protestants, Kilroy is the answer. -- David Crane, Spectator A picture of St John's and the Catholic underground comes out vividly in the admirable new biography Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life by Gerard Kilroy. --Christopher Howse, The Telegraph Gerard Kilroy's Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life vividly sketches the intellectual worlds of Oxford and Prague in the first half of Queen Elizabeth's reign. --Christopher Howse, Spectator Books of the Year Campion's last months are of such interest that it is a welcome surprise to find the underground Catholic world of his Oxford years and the Jesuit humanist pattern of his years in Prague explore so vividly. Kilroy has been everywhere, read everything and quotes amply with good judgement. -- Christopher Howse, The Tablet In this thorough and careful study, Gerard Kilroy has attempted to disentangle Campion's own course from those of the other key English Jesuits, William Allen and Robert Persons, the different popes, and European politics. He provides a detailed and dispassionate analysis of the documentation, some of which has been known since Campion's death and some of which has only recently been discovered. - Sybil M. Jack, The University of Sydney Rooted in exhaustive research in libraries and archives around the world and drawing on a number of manuscripts unknown to previous historians, it is a work of meticulous scholarship and measured and careful analysis that will surely be regarded as the definitive account of Campion for many decades to come. --Alexandra Walsham, Journal of Jesuit Studies

About the Author

Gerard Kilroy is the author of Edmund Campion: Memory and Transcription (Ashgate, 2005) and of The Epigrams of Sir John Harington (Ashgate, 2009). He is an Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of English at University College London, read Classics and English at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was awarded his doctorate by Lancaster University.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th June 2017


Gerard Kilroy

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Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd




Biography: religious & spiritual



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