Literature and religion in mid-Victorian England : from Dickens to Eliot /
Carolyn W. de la L. Oulton.
Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
221 p. ; 23 cm.
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Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 213-219) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-06-01:
Despite its title, this study is primarily concerned with "two liberal Christians, Dickens and Wilkie Collins, who tackled the evangelical ethos throughout their work and found a convincing resolution in Broad Church belief." In chapter 1, Oulton (Canterbury Christ Church University College) sets out to define the larger terms of the moral and intellectual questioning of mid-Victorian orthodoxy. She considers the two writers and their scholarly critics in context with writers like Eliot, Newman, and Butler. Chapter 2 looks more specifically at how the religious concepts of Dickens and Collins are couched in the gender norms of the time. Chapters 3 and 4 examine how the two reject evangelical notions of human depravity and, instead, espouse more liberal beliefs in spiritual renewal and personal redemption. Chapter 5 considers how poverty and criminality are represented in the two writers' work, how these representations relate to ideas of divine salvation, and how these might be compared with agnostic representations in Eliot's Middlemarch. In the concluding chapter Oulton argues that far from being unconcerned with doctrinal controversies, both Dickens and Collins reveal active engagement with them. Sound documentation, skimpy index. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic libraries wishing to strengthen holdings on Dickens, Collins, and Victorian culture for use by lower-division undergraduates through faculty. T. Loe SUNY College at Oswego
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Choice, June 2003
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Description for Bookstore
This book places Dickens and Wilkie Collins against such important figures as John Henry Newman and George Eliot inseeking to recover their response to the religious controversies of mid-nineteenth century England. While much recent criticism has tended to overlook or dismiss their religious pronouncements, this book foregrounds the religious aspect of their writing and relocates their most important work in the context of contemporary debate. The response of both writers is seen to be complex and fraught with tension.
Table of Contents
Tradings in Religion: Legislation and Crisis at Mid-Century
A Man's Resolution and a Woman's Patience: Fighting the Battle of Life
The Redeployment of Doctrine: Treatment of Original Sin, Infant Depravity and Proventialism
Subverting Judgement
The Case for Redemption through Sanctification of the Sinner Pet Prisoners and Honest Paupers
Philanthropic Dealings with Poverty and Criminality
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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