Religion and Revolution in a Transatlantic Frame: The Cases of English, Irish, and Mexican Literature (1789-1832)

Doctoral Dissertation


In this dissertation, I argue that political revolutions transformed religious conceptions of community in English, Irish, and Mexican Literature. I situate these three literatures within an Atlantic world in which radical writings, such as those written by Thomas Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, were widely circulated and appropriated by these Atlantic writers.The appropriation of this French revolutionary curriculum yielded distinct results in each case.Revolutionary sparks were successfully extinguished in England; in Ireland, the failed 1798 Irish rebellion led to union with England; in Mexico, a “dis-union” from Spain was affected by the War of Independence (1810-1821), which led to the decolonizing of Mexico. I show how diverse writers such as William Godwin (England), Lady Morgan (Ireland), and Fray Servando Teresa de Mier (Mexico) constructed national imaginaries in light of pressures exerted on religion by revolutionary events.

My intervention extends the burgeoning work of Transatlantic Romanticists who consider the role of Spanish American revolutions in the British imagination.I widen this scholarly perspective to include how Mexicans writing in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries appropriated revolutionary ideas for their own designs, and I also engage comparative work on how the English and the Irish made different use of the same radical material. My interdisciplinary research unites two strands of recent, significant literary-historical inquiry: the development of British Romanticism in relation to religious politics and the incorporation of Transatlantic Studies within the field. My dissertation responds to two central research questions: What depictions of community and sociability emerge from the mixture of revolutionary discourses and religious politics at these sites? How does a Southern Atlantic Catholic culture’s use of revolutionary ideas differ from Northern Protestants’ use of this same material?


Attribute NameValues
Author Cesar L. Soto
Contributor Greg Kucich , Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline English
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
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Defense Date
  • 2019-04-01

Submission Date 2019-04-08
  • Transatlantic Romanticism, Creole Cultures, Mexican Independence, Irish Literature, Wolfe Tone, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Leadbeater, Fray Servando, Sydney Owenson, Nineteenth Century Literature, French Revolution, Religion, Deism, Christianity, Atlantic Studies, 1790s

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