Reformed Piety and the Renaissance of Print Culture in 18th- Century Mexico City
AuthorMehas, Shayna R.
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During the second half of the 18th century and into the 19th century, Mexico City experienced an increase in the publication of religious devotional works that emphasized a reformed religion. The increase in these devotional publications indicates that officials were encouraging a shift from Baroque Tridentine Catholicism, in which value was placed on exterior magnificence and outward gestures, to a reformed piety that was more focused on the individual's internal spirituality. Both Tridentine Catholicism and reformed Catholicism saw internal prayer as an intrinsic part of religiosity. However, reformed Catholicism placed greater emphasis on the individual's role in religion outside of the community at large. Thus, the 18th century, marked an increase in devotionals that were written for the devout in general, rather than written for the use of a specific priest and parish, convent, or cofradía. The increase in publications was representative of a renaissance in print culture that naturally correlated to an increase in readership, due to an official focus on education and increased literacy, and demand for these types of publications. Not only does the increase correlate to an increase in literate individuals such as criollos and peninsulares, but it also indicates the development of new readers including women and children. The heightened production and availability of small religious devotionals to the urban public, thus aided in the popularization of individual piety; in turn, the publication of such texts fueled the print boom.