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About the Book

Beyond the Book

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 29 halftones, 8 maps, 2 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-1-4696-0879-2
Published: December 2013

Two Troubled Souls

An Eighteenth-Century Couple's Spiritual Journey in the Atlantic World

By Aaron Spencer Fogleman

Jean-François Reynier, a French Swiss Huguenot, and his wife, Maria Barbara Knoll, a Lutheran from the German territories, crossed the Atlantic several times and lived among Protestants, Jews, African slaves, and Native Americans from Suriname to New York and many places in between. While they preached to and doctored many Atlantic peoples in religious missions, revivals, and communal experiments, they encountered scandals, bouts of madness, and other turmoil, including within their own marriage. Aaron Spencer Fogleman's riveting narrative offers a lens through which to better understand how individuals engaged with the eighteenth-century Atlantic world and how men and women experienced many of its important aspects differently.

Reynier's and Knoll's lives illuminate an underside of empire where religious radicals fought against church authority and each other to find and spread the truth; where Atlantic peoples had spiritual, medical, and linguistic encounters that authorities could not always understand or control; and where wives disobeyed husbands to seek their own truth and opportunity.

About the Author

Aaron Spencer Fogleman is professor of history at Northern Illinois University and author of Jesus is Female: Moravians and Radical Religion in Early America and Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775.


“An unusually revealing view of the transcontinental networks and radical thought and behavior in the tumultuous 18th-century Atlantic world. Recommended. All levels/libraries.”

“A compelling, deeply researched, and accessibly written microhistory of one couple’s journeys throughout the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.”
--William and Mary Quarterly

"Fogleman offers a lens through which to better understand how individuals engaged with the 18th century Atlantic World and how men and women experienced many of its important aspects differently."
--NIU Today

“A rich microhistorical narrative.”
--Journal of American History

"In Aaron Fogleman's delightful book, the human dramas and the distinctive characters of the Reyniers come through with clarity and poignancy--to read the first few pages is to want to read the rest. Fogleman portrays them shrewdly, sharply, compellingly, and compassionately. His scholarship is capacious and even audacious in its sweep and in its depth. In the telling of the Reyniers' story, we learn much about the tumultuous and brutal Atlantic world."
--Michael Zuckerman, author of Almost Chosen People: Oblique Biographies in the American Grain

"The eighteenth-century Atlantic world comes into surprising new perspective as Aaron Fogleman follows an adventurous missionary couple in Europe, the American colonies, and the Caribbean. In his deft hands, Maria Knoll and Jean-François Reynier come to life, both in the extensive networks of religious conversion and in the intimate exchange of a sometimes uneasy marriage. Two Troubled Souls is a great read, absorbing from start to finish."
--Natalie Zemon Davis, author of Women on the Margins

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