Book Reviews / Religion and the Arts 11 (2007) 267–273 271 Smith, Ryan K. Gothic Arches, Latin Crosses: Anti-Catholicism and Ameri- can Church Designs in the Nineteenth Century . Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Pp. xiv + 224 + 23 illustrations + 1 table. $55.00 cloth, $19.95 paper. D r. Smith’s new work is a highly readable and painstaking attempt to unravel and understand a complex phenomenon: the “Catholiciza- tion” of American Protestant worship in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, gothic tracery, stained glass, and elegant choir vestments are stan- dard and uncontroversial staples of church life across the denominations. However, their current “given” status belies a half forgotten, bitter struggle marked by extraordinary acts of cognitive dissonance and marred by ugly sectarian propaganda. Th e book’s central contention is that Protestant moves towards the Gothic in setting and the Catholic in liturgy have to be read fundamen- tally (and paradoxically) as part of the story of anti-Catholicism; they do not indicate a softening of ecumenical attitudes. Between 1820 and 1860 the number of Roman Catholics in the USA swelled enormously, pri marily through immigration, to become the largest single denomination (though still a minority).
Religion and the Arts – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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