Fortress of the Soul: Violence, Metaphysics, and Material Culture in the Huguenots' New World, 1517-1751.Neil Kamil. Fortress of the Soul: Violence, Metaphysics, and Material Culture in the Huguenots' New World, 1517-1751.
Early America: History, Context, Culture. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University, mainly at Baltimore, Md. Johns Hopkins in 1867 had a group of his associates incorporated as the trustees of a university and a hospital, endowing each with $3.5 million. Daniel C. Press, 2005, xxiv + 1058 pp. index. illus. tbls. map. $75. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 0-8018-7390-8.
In Fortress of the Soul Neil Kamil carefully weaves transatlantic threads between Huguenot France, especially La Rochelle La Ro·chelle
A city of western France on the Bay of Biscay southwest of Tours. It was a Huguenot stronghold in the 16th century. Population: 79,400. and its hinterland (the provinces of Aunis and Saintonge), and the New World. This is not a book on the Huguenot diaspora (or Refuge) per se but a history of the ties, tangible and immaterial, between France's Protestant minority and the Anglo-American Atlantic world from the early days of the Reformation to the mid-eighteenth century, when Huguenot refugees in North America and Britain started to become less visible. The book is ambitious, reflects profound erudition er·u·di·tion
Deep, extensive learning. See Synonyms at knowledge.
Erudition of editors—Hare.
Noun 1. , and is based on extensive research both in France and in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of . It draws on a multiplicity of sources, is abundantly illustrated, and each figure is accompanied by a detailed and informative caption. Kamil's innovative thesis argues that Huguenot artisans from southwestern France were the main carriers of a Huguenot subterranean and secretive culture best expressed through the artifactual ar·ti·fact also ar·te·fact
1. An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest.
2. and literary works of Bernard Palissy 1510-90, with apocalyptic accents and a metaphysical dimension, and which emerged in the violence of France's Catholic reconquest Re`con´quest
n. 1. A second conquest. of Protestant bastions and was transplanted first to England and then to colonial New York. The author's thorough training in material culture enables him to offer very sophisticated analyses of furniture, especially the leather chairs in vogue in Boston and New York in the late seventeenth-century--and through meticulous description he manages to identify a "hidden in plain sight" (title of chapter 15) Huguenot artisanal influence on early American material culture. The book contains fascinating passages on, among other things, the entrance of Charles IX into the fortress of La Rochelle during his royal tour of France in 1562, the devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. siege of La Rochelle
Although the Refuge is not its sole focus, Fortress of the Soul is an important contribution to the study of the French Protestant diaspora in the Atlantic world and to our understanding of Huguenot artisans' training, inspiration, and styles, as well as how these were transplanted to America. Kamil's regional and cultural approaches to the Huguenot Atlantic diaspora imaginatively sheds new light on an old topic. The regions of La Rochelle, Normandy, Dauphine dau·phine
The wife of a dauphin.
[French, feminine of dauphin; see dauphin.] , and Eastern Languedoc were the main cultural hearths from which North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. Huguenot refugees originated and any study of their migration cannot be complete without an analysis of the cultural baggage that they brought with them. Fortress of the Soul therefore provides us with a major piece of the larger diasporic puzzle. Kamil also stresses the importance of the Huguenot experience in the Anglo-American Protestant world, a role that has been largely ignored by French and Anglo-American historians for various linguistic and historiographic reasons. The fate of France's Protestant minority mattered in England and in early America as the Huguenots' successes and defeats alternatively weakened and strengthened the Protestant cause on the continent. Kamil's elaborate study of Anglo-Huguenot furniture also shows that the French merchants and artisans did more than successfully adapt to the economic context of the New World and to the settlers' tastes. The merchants controlled part of the trade while the artisans introduced a French regional artisanal style to North America. The Huguenot refugees did not just assimilate, but influenced New York's economy and artisanry through kin and regional networks.
Unfortunately the inattentive in·at·ten·tive
Exhibiting a lack of attention; not attentive.
inat·ten reader can lose the thread of the author's thesis due to the sometimes-Baroque prose, long chapters, and digressions. Surprisingly Kamil also does not use the most recent works on the Huguenot diaspora, relying, for example, too heavily on Charles Baird's 1885 study on the Huguenots in North America. This use of older publications leads to inaccuracies regarding, for example, Coligny's motives for colonization in the sixteenth century or the number of post-Revocation refugees. This absence is all the more regrettable as recent historiography on the Refuge in North America specifically supports Kamil's thesis of Huguenot cultural creolization. One can also lament the lack of a bibliography, which would have been most useful for a book of this scope. However, these are minor shortcomings A shortcoming is a character flaw.
Shortcomings may also be:
BERTRAND VAN RUYMBEKE
Universite de Paris VIII (Vincennes-Saint-Denis), France