John Gerard: The Autobiography of an Elizabethan
Truth is stranger than fiction. And nowhere in literature is it so apparent as in this classic work, "The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest." This autobiography of a Jesuit priest in Elizabethan England is a most remarkable document and John Gerard, its author, a most remarkable priest in a time when to be a Catholic in England courted imprisonment and torture; to be a prie...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published by Family Publications
(first published 1951)
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
(showing 1-30 of 116)
A strange little book this: one of the very early examples of an autobiography, written by an English Jesuit priest at the beginning of the seventeenth century. It's only about two hundred pages long, but it's packed full with the event of an extraordinary life, much of it spent in covert work as a Catholic missionary in England under the reign of Elizabeth I. It's one of the few, if not the only, complete first-hand accounts we possess of that world; an account which is made even more interesti...more
Jul 15, 2012 Judine rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I found this book to be fascinating on a number of levels. First, I was interested because Fr. Gerard was used as a character in the young adult novel Shakespeare's Spy. In the novel, his ability to change character to hide among the London populace was emphasized. His actual autobiography stresses his relationship with various people and families in more detail. His devotion to the Jesuit priesthood and the Catholic Church during the Renaissance is humbling, especially since he takes the troubl...more
I've read my share of historic autobiographies, and generally speaking, those that come before the novel read VERY much like the authors had never read a novel. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this book, and contribute it to the following: a) I read it immediately following a trip to the midlands -- I actually purchase the book at the Badsley Clinton gift shop; a manor house whose priest hole(s) are featured in Gerards story. b)I'm catholic, and my sympathys are certainly easy to disti...more
Jul 02, 2014 Sandra rated it 2 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I really thought I'd enjoy this, but I didn't. The writing is extremely prosaic, and it's as much a sort of hagiography as anything else (this decapitated priest's head never turned black even when it was on a pole!!! this well and stream always turned blood-red on the feast day of the saint who was martyred there!!!), that I could barely keep turning the pages as long as I did. Perhaps this is because it was written by a Catholic priest during the reign of Elizabeth, and there wasn't much in th...more
I am greatly interested in the English Reformation and the repression of the Catholic Church, and count St. Thomas More as one of my patrons. Still, I hesitated a bit before reading this, thinking it might be poorly written or difficult to read. I was wrong. This really was an amazing book, by a priest who survived persecution, torture, and hardship. Thank you to Ignatius Press for republishing it.
This is a very interesting and inspiring memoir of an Elizabethan and Jacobean Jesuit missionary in England who, as he says, "did not merit the crown of martyrdom," although he was arrested and tortured. He escaped from the Tower of London and eventually to the Continent, after he was accused, along with other Jesuits, of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot. In fact he knew nothing about it, and the Jesuits tried to persuade the plotters not to go forward, but several, including the superior, were...more
This is a fascinating firsthand account of the ministry in England of Father John Gerard, S.J. (1564-1637) during the reigns of Elizabeth & James. It was a time when Catholics could be arrested, punished or executed for practicing their religion. Gerard's is a an honest, sometimes graphic account of his & others' sufferings, as well as a memorial to the strength of his faith, his humility, & his utter devotion to his ministry, which was mainly trying to convince those of the upper cl...more
John Gerard (also known as John Gerarde, 1545–1611 or 1612) was an English herbalist notable for his herbal garden and botany writingMore about John Gerard...