Skip to main content Accessibility help
Reading and Rebellion in Catholic Germany, 1770–1914
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

Popular conceptions of Catholic censorship, symbolized above all by the Index of Forbidden Books, figure prominently in secular definitions of freedom. To be intellectually free is to enjoy access to knowledge unimpeded by any religious authority. But how would the history of freedom change if these conceptions were false? In this panoramic study of Catholic book culture in Germany from 1770–1914, Jeffrey T. Zalar exposes the myth of faith-based intellectual repression. Catholic readers disobeyed the book rules of their church in a vast apostasy that raised personal desire and conscience over communal responsibility and doctrine. This disobedience sparked a dramatic contest between lay readers and their priests over proper book behavior that played out in homes, schools, libraries, parish meeting halls, even church confessionals. The clergy lost this contest in a fundamental reordering of cultural power that helped usher in contemporary Catholicism.


'With the scarcity of English language works on nineteenth-century German Catholic culture, Zalar’s study is truly welcomed. He has produced a brilliant [and] sophisticated examination of the changing reading habits of Catholics over two centuries.'

Kevin P. Spicer Source: Contemporary Church History Quarterly

'Zalar’s work illustrates how German Catholics engaged in a long process of resistance against clerical direction and authority over what lay Catholics read … This resistance demonstrates fundamental problems with traditional conceptions of clerical authority over the laity, it questions the religious milieu’s cohesion and it gives lay Catholics … much greater agency in their own history as Catholics and Germans.'

Eric Yonke Source: German History

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed