Lourdes at the moment of bernadettes apparitions was essentially unknown to the rest of france when louis veuillot journalist and editor of the catholic newspaperlunivers introduced the young visionary and her miraculous grotto to his readers in 1858 he described this unprepossessing town as more traversed than knownhidden in the foothills of the pyrenees lourdes was a . In case the reader has doubts about whether this is a wholly new or even a valid argument kaufman who writes in a briskly assertive style theorises her point rather thoroughly with frequent references to bourgeois capitalism and commodity fetishism hence the consuming visions of the title arguing that in modern societies the commodity . In consuming visions suzanne k kaufman deftly explores the crowded cultural intersection that produces modern forms of pilgrimage healing and devotion commerce spectacle popular media tourism and mass consumption making good use of religious and cultural histories of the united states where the merchandising of faith has long been . Plastic madonnas packaged holy tours and biblical theme parks can arouse discomfort laughter and even revulsion in religious believers and nonbelievers alike scholars too often see the intermingling of religion and commerce as a corruption of true spirituality suzanne k kaufman challenges these assumptions in her examination of the lourdes pilgrimage in late nineteenth century france
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