How did a thirteenth-century Italian friar become one of the best-loved saints in America? Around the nation today, St. Francis of Assisi is embraced as the patron saint of animals, beneficently presiding over hundreds of Blessing of the Animals services on October 4, St. Francis's Catholic feast day. Not only Catholics, however, but Protestants and other Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and nonreligious Americans commonly name him as one of their favorite spiritual figures. Drawing on a dazzling array of art, music, drama, film, hymns, and prayers, Patricia Appelbaum explains what happened to make St. Francis so familiar and meaningful to so many Americans. Appelbaum traces popular depictions and interpretations of St. Francis from the time when non-Catholic Americans "discovered" him in the nineteenth century to the present. From poet to activist, 1960s hippie to twenty-first-century messenger to Islam, St. Francis has been envisioned in ways that might have surprised the saint himself. Exploring how each vision of St. Francis has been shaped by its own era, Appelbaum reveals how St. Francis has played a sometimes countercultural but always aspirational role in American culture. St. Francis's American story also displays the zest with which Americans borrow, lend, and share elements of their religious lives in everyday practice.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Patricia Appelbaum, an independent scholar of religion and American culture, is author of Kingdom to Commune: Protestant Pacifist Culture between World War I and the Vietnam Era.
What People are Saying About This
A fascinating trip through American cultural history. St. Francis is a wonderful way to see how popular and elite are deftly interwoven into the life-worlds of actual people. A welcome scrutiny of the literary and material culture surrounding a figure who is able to inspire reformers, moralists, and consumers alike. There is no other study of Francis like this one.David Morgan, author of The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling