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Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in 19th Century Ireland

Author(s): Eugene Hynes

ISBN13: 9781859184400

ISBN10: 1859184405


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  • Co-winner of the tenth annual James S. Donnelly, Sr. award for Books in History and the Social Sciences presented by the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS)

    In 1879 local people reported an apparition of the Virgin Mary and other supernatural personages at Knock, a poor rural village in western Ireland. In contrast to devotional or dismissive accounts, the author draws on both insiders views and his training as a sociologist to show how the apparition was related to the local social context including economic, cultural, religious, political and historical dimensions.

    Drawing on new and neglected sources of evidence, Hynes pays particular attention to the individuals most directly involved including the seers, local clergy, Land League activists, various promoters, and others. The author looks through participants eyes as much as possible. To understand what those eyes saw, the book examines the local scene for half a century before the apparition. His deep knowledge of the local context enables the author to develop understandings of key persons and events before and around the apparition. Using the Knock case, the author challenges usually accepted explanations of changes in nineteenth-century Irish Catholicism.

    The book is important for those interested in the links between official and local religion especially in Irish Catholicism, for students of apparitions generally, for anyone interested in bottom-up approaches to social and cultural history, and especially for students of nineteenth-century Ireland.

  • Eugene Hynes

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    This is perhaps the single best book ever written about the social and cultural dynamics of rural Ireland, with enormous implications for (and multiple cross-references to) the multiple and conflicting consequences of what used to be called modernization in a host of similar developing societies.

    - Kerby Miller (University of Missouri)

    This is a perceptive and well-written book that gives the readers a new insight into the Knock apparition.

    - Rene Kollar, Journal of British Studies

    Eugene Hynes study of the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Knock,County Mayo, in 1879 is a valuable contribution to the field of academic studies of Marian apparitions in the modern world. This is an important book that should attract a wide readership. Hynes is an academic sociologist, but he writes in a clear and generally jargon-free manner.

    - Carole M. Cusak, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies


Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in 19th Century Ireland