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The Italian Convert: Marquis Galeazzo Caracciolo and the English Puritans

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the impact of Galeazzo Caracciolo's conversion narrative on later generations, especially among English Puritans on both sides of the Atlantic. Far from being an episode of purely personal significance, the story of Caracciolo's conversion is squarely anchored in the broader context of the Italian Reformation. Caracciolo is no longer the absolutely uncompromising figure in the Nicodemite controversy which ravaged the sixteenth-century continental Reformation, but he becomes rather a symbol of the steadfast Puritan critique of the established church hierarchy and its pro-Catholic attitude in seventeenth-century England. There is evidence that Newes from Italy of a second Moses or rather The Italian convert, as the book became to be known since the 1635 edition, circulated not only in England but on both sides of the Atlantic. After the Glorious Revolution, enthusiasm for new editions of Caracciolo's biography apparently waned in England, but not in the colonies.

Keywords: English Puritans; Galeazzo Caracciolo; seventeenth-century England; sixteenth-century continental reformation; The Italian convert



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