From a Far Country

Camisards and Huguenots in the Atlantic World

Title Details

Pages: 186

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 03/01/2011

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3820-0

List Price: $24.95


Pub Date: 12/01/2009

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3390-8

List Price: $51.95

From a Far Country

Camisards and Huguenots in the Atlantic World

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In From a Far Country Catharine Randall examines Huguenots and their less-known cousins the Camisards, offering a fresh perspective on the important role these French Protestants played in settling the New World.

The Camisard religion was marked by more ecstatic expression than that of the Huguenots, not unlike differences between Pentecostals and Protestants. Both groups were persecuted and emigrated in large numbers, becoming participants in the broad circulation of ideas that characterized the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Randall vividly portrays this French Protestant diaspora through the lives of three figures: Gabriel Bernon, who led a Huguenot exodus to Massachusetts and moved among the commercial elite; Ezéchiel Carré, a Camisard who influenced Cotton Mather's theology; and Elie Neau, a Camisard-influenced writer and escaped galley slave who established North America's first school for blacks.

Like other French Protestants, these men were adaptable in their religious views, a quality Randall points out as quintessentially American. In anthropological terms they acted as code shifters who manipulated multiple cultures. While this malleability ensured that French Protestant culture would not survive in externally recognizable terms in the Americas, Randall shows that the culture's impact was nonetheless considerable.

A major contribution to the fields of history and religious studies. From a Far Country will elicit long-overdue interest in a movement that has been marginalized by historians and may well be more central to modern evangelical Christianity than we had previously suspected.

—Kathleen P. Long, Cornell University, and editor of Religious Differences in France: Past and Present

A welcome addition to the small but growing body of scholarly work that examines the French Protestant experience from an Atlantic world perspective.

Journal of American History

The book's grand sweep is appealing. It has an elegant thesis, one possessed of enormous potential. Succinctly put, the cataclysmic violence and prophetic outpourings that attended the proscription and persecution of Protestants in late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth-century France reverberated profoundly in colonial America. Accordingly, the close examination of key Camisard figures and their trans-Atlantic influence provides a better, more precise sense of both French and American religious traditions.

Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Provid[es] important insights into the cultural transformations involved in the creation of a New World society. Her book contributes to the literature of colonial history, transatlantic history, and the cultural world of early America.

—Georgia Cosmos, author of Huguenot Prophecy and Clandestine Worship in the Eighteenth Century

From a Far Country helps readers to appreciate the varied influences on the Huguenots of the Atlantic world while further dispelling the notion that Huguenots simply assimilated to the prevalent communities in which they found themselves.

—John McGrath, The Historian

Randall's work remains an essential read for anyone planning to study the Huguenots or Camisards, especially in an Atlantic context. Her research has clearly opened up a debate which should have come to light sooner; that the impact of immigration on a society does not stop at those immigrants who isolate themselves in immigrant communities, but is far more wide reaching.

—Christopher S. Adams, Wesley Historical Society


Award for Best Scholarly Work, National Huguenot Society

About the Author/Editor

CATHARINE RANDALL is a professor of French at Fordham University. She is the author of numerous books including Earthly Treasures: Material Culture and Metaphysics in the Heptaméron and Evangelical Narrative and Building Codes: The Aesthetics of Calvinism in Early Modern Europe.