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Grant number like: FT-53548-05

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John Monroe
Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Ames, IA 50011-2000)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2005 – 8/31/2005

Satanic France: The Figure of the Devil and the Transformation of French Catholicism in the Fin-de-Siecle

This project will center on one of the major religious scandals of the late nineteenth century: the Satanism scare the journalist Leo Taxil created in French Catholic circles with his invented stories of Devil-worship among Freemasons. A major event in the period's cultural history, this singular story has yet to receive a serious scholarly analysis. An investigation of the complex reasons why Taxil undertook his hoax, and why Catholic audiences were so willing to believe it, will enrich our understanding of both the tensions that underlay French society during the era of the Dreyfus affair, and the ideological climate from which the twentieth-century extreme right emerged.