Virginia ReinburgJun 10, 2022
Pilgrim Shrines, Nature, and History in Early Modern France
Cambridge University Press 2019
Today I talked to Virginia Reinburg about her book Storied Places: Pilgrim Shrines, Nature, and History in Early Modern France (Cambridge UP, 2019).
Pilgrim shrines were places of healing, holiness, and truth in early modern France. By analyzing the creation of these pilgrim shrines as natural, legendary, and historic places whose authority provided a new foundation for post-Reformation Catholic life, Virginia Reinburg examines the impact of the Reformation and religious wars on French society and the French landscape. Divided into two parts, Part I offers detailed studies of the shrines of Sainte-Reine, Notre-Dame du Puy, Notre-Dame de Garaison, and Notre-Dame de Betharram, showing how nature, antiquity, and images inspired enthusiasm among pilgrims. These chapters also show that the category of 'pilgrim' included a wide variety of motivations, beliefs, and acts. Part II recounts how shrine chaplains authored books employing history, myth, and archives in an attempt to prove that the shrines were authentic, and to show that the truths they exemplified were beyond dispute.
Elspeth Currie is a PhD student in the Department of History at Boston College where she studies women’s intellectual history in early modern Europe.