The influence of religion on the Victorian literature

Cuprins licență

Table of contents 1
Abstract ..3
Introduction .. .5
1. CHAPTER ONE: The religious context 6
1.0 A brief introduction into Victorian religion ..6
1.1 The Dissenters ...8
1.2 The Hegelians 8
1.3 The Positivists 10
1.4 The Atheists 14
1.5 Conclusions .14
2. CHAPTER TWO: Crisis of faith in Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North and South'
2.0 About the novel . 16
2.1 Mr. Hale, Dissenter or Unitarian? ...17
2.2 Bessy Higgins, a girl with 'methodee fancies' . 22
2.3 Nicholas Higgins, the agnostic ahead of his time 24
2.4 Conclusions . 25
3. CHAPTER THREE: Paganism in Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'
3.0 Introduction . 26
3.1 Paganism ..27
3.2 Angel Clare's 'neo -  paganism' .29
3.3 Tess, the 'boundary breaker' .33
3.4 Tess, the positivist heroine .34
3.5 Paganism vs. Positivism .36
3.6 Conclusions ..37
4. CHAPTER FOUR: Hate, Evangelicalism, and The religion of love in Charlotte
Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' 38
4.0 About the novel ..38
4.1 Mrs. Reed, the woman whose religion was 'hate' ...39
4.2 Mr. Brocklehurst's Evangelicalism ..40
4.3 Helen Burns and the religion of love 43
4.4 Conclusions .46
5. CHAPTER FIVE: Christianity as an example for humanity in Charles Dickens's
'The life of our Lord' 47
5.0 Introduction ... 47
5.1 About the story 48
5.2 Another religious view 50
5.3 Contextualization . 52
5.4 Rewriting the 'New Testament' .. 53
5.5 Conclusions ... 56
Conclusions .. 57
References 59

Extras din licență

The purpose of this study is to explore how religion influenced some of the writings from the
Victorian literature, after the scientific discoveries that shook the era and the continuous
changes within the Church.
The research seeks to answer the question of whether religion still remained an important part
of the era's literature and how Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy and
Charles Dickens coped with the loss of faith in the Christian dogma after they were acquainted
with Darwin's writings.
The first chapter of this BA Project presents the religious context of the Victorian era, an
essential introduction for understanding the theme of my work. The second chapter argues that
Elizabeth Gaskell saw the embracing of industrialization as a manner to deal with the loss of
faith, and analyses her most well-known novel, 'North and South'. The third chapter presents
one of Charlotte Bronte's writings, 'Jane Eyre' and how the author was absorbing currents of
religious thoughts not only from Anglicanism, but also from Catholicism and Methodism. In
the fourth chapter, I tried to show how Hardy embraced an alternative 'religion' in 'Tess of the
d'Urbervilles', The Positivist 'Religion of Humanity', while the fifth chapter is dedicated to
Dickens and his writing 'The Life of our Lord', a piece of work composed in his last years,
which offered readers a distilled version of Dickensian Christianity and a direct articulation of
his Jesus-centric belief system.
The methods adopted in planning the research incorporate investigation of primary resources,
textual reading and attempting to concentrate on the themes that are appropriate and suitable
for the paper's subject.
On the basis of the results of this research, it can be concluded that religion still remained the
most important topic of the era, although the writers had their doubts regarding religion.
Notwithstanding the fact that Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy and Charles
Dickens had different opinions and beliefs about the Christian Church and faith, their works
did not lack in religious references and none of the above mentioned writers renounced
completely in believing in an Absolute Power, even after Darwin's Theory of Evolution and
Religion is a system of beliefs, dogmas, rites and feelings that define the relation between
humans and divinity. Religion existed since the moment mankind existed; Homo Habilius
worshiped natural phenomena, due to the fact that they could not understand or control nature.
Religion changed alongside human's evolution, meeting the demands of the time. Hence,
when humans renounced to fear the uncontrollable meteorological phenomena, the basis of
religion adjusted to the new needs, as the need of a supreme protection or the idea that
everything has a purpose and every existence is not in vain. Maslow's hierarchy of human
needs situates the need of protection on the second stage of the pyramid, being considered a
'basic need'; therefore, religion imposed itself as a very important part of human life.
The theme of my BA Project is 'The influence of religion on the Victorian literature' and I
decided to discuss the subject of religion in this era, as the Victorians had faced the notorious
'religious doubt'. After Darwin's 'Theory of evolution' was published, the religious doubt
started contouring more and more. For the first time in history, people had the opportunity to
'revoke' the connection with divinity: they were not God's creation anymore. They were not
forced to believe in something that cannot be seen, and they were not supposed to fear God's
punishment if they sinned. Another cause of Victorian doubt was that the religious institutions
were no longer serving the moral sensibility, as they were supposed to. Humanitarianism, the
need of a social reform, the changes and conflicts within churches, the evangelical movement
and the influence of scientific discoveries were also important factors that led to this loss of
The religious doubt became vocal and widespread in a manner that England had not
previously seen before. It was especially pronounced among the intellectuals, where
manifestos like Charles Hennell's An Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity (1838) or
the The Nemesis of Faith (1849), by J. A. Froude and Frank Newman were much debated,
while important scholars as John Henry Newman and Mill wrote autobiographically about
their crises of faith.

Fisiere în arhivă (1):

  • The influence of religion on the Victorian literature.pdf

Imagini din acest licență


Allot, M (1973), Jane Eyre and Villette, The Casebook Series, London
Asquith, M (2009), Putting Faith in Tess: religion in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The English
Review, 21. p. 1-2
Bebbington, D W (1989), Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, London
Beer, G (2000), Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and
Nineteenth Century Fiction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Bonaparte, F (1999), The Deadly Misreading of Mythic Texts: Thomas Hardy's Tess of the
d'Urbervilles, International Journal of Classical Tradition, vol. 5, no. 3, 415-432
Bonica, C (1982), Nature and Paganism in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, English
Literary History, Vol. 49, no.4, 849-862
Bodenheimer, R (1979), North and South: A Permanent State of Change, Nineteenth-Century
Fiction, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Dec., 1979), p. 281-301
Bronte, C. (1969), Jane Eyre, London
Colledge, Gary L (2009), Dickens, Christianity and The Life of Our Lord, Bloomsbury
Colledge, Gary L (2012), God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a
Classic Author, Baker Books
David, D (2013), The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel, The intellectual debate
in the Victorian novel, 212-231, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Dickens, C. (1999), The Life of Our Lord, Cambridge, CUP
Dickens, C (1999), The Life of Our Lord, Simon & Schuster, New York
Easson, A (1980), Mr. Hale's Doubts in North and South. The Review of English Studies,
31(121), new series, 30-40. Retrieved from
Gaskell, E. (1995), North and South, London
Gaskell, E (1995), North and South, Penguin, Ringwood
Gilmour, R (1993), The Victorian Period: The Intellectual Cultural Context of English
Literature, 1830-1890, Longman, London.
Hardy, F, E (1962), The Life of Thomas Hardy, Macmillan, London.
Hardy, T (1960), Tess of the d'Urbervilles, London
Hardy, T (1960), Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Macmillan, London.
Heilman, R (1975). Escape and Escapism Varieties of Literary Experience. The Sewanee
Review,83(3), 439-458. Retrieved from
Herbert, L (1970), Hardy's Views in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, English Literary History, vol.
37, no. 1, 77-94
Hutt, W. H (1926) The Factory System of the Early Nineteenth Century. Retrieved from
Larson, J. L (1985) Dickens and the Broken Scripture, Athens: University of Georgia Press
Lewis, J (2011) Dickens: His Parables, and His Reader. Columbia: University of Missouri
Longeway, J. L (1990) The Rationality of Escapism and Self-deception, "Behaviour and
Philosophy", Vol. 18, Number 2, Cambridge Centre for Behavioural Studies, pp. 1 -  20,
Mason, E (2011) "Religion." Charles Dickens in Context, eds. Sally Ledger and Holly
Furneaux, 318-325, Cambridge University Press
Meyer, D. H (1975), American Quarterly: American Intellectuals and the Victorian Crisis of
Faith, vol. 27, no.5, 585-603, The Johns Hopkins University Press
Mill, S. J (1969), Three essays on religion, Greenwood Press, New York
Millgate, M (1984), The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, Oxford University Press, London
Oulton, C (2003), Literature and Religion in Mid-Victorian England, Palgrave Macmillan,
New York.
Robertson, J (2003), Mortal Projections: Thomas Hardy's Dissolving Views of God,
Victorian Literature and Culture, 43-66, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Shapiro, A. (1968), In defense of Jane Eyre, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 Vol. 8,
No. 4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1968), pp. 681-698
Schneewind, J (1970), Backgrounds of English Victorian literature, Random House
Schweik, R (1999), The Influence of Religion, Science, and Philosophy on Hardy's Writings,
in D Kramer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy, 54-72, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge
Stave, S (1995), The Decline of the Goddess: Nature, Culture, and Women in Thomas Hardy's
Fiction, Greenwood Press, Westport, USA.
Uglow, J (1993), Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories, Faber & Faber, Oxford
Walder, D (1981), Dickens and Religion, Winchester, MA: George Allen & Unwin
Wright, T (1986), The Religion of Humanity, Cambridge University Press, London.

Ne pare rau, pe moment serviciile de acces la documente sunt suspendate.

Hopa sus!