Your own personal Jesus : individualized religious sectarianism in the mid-victorian novel.


This Dissertation explores four novels from the mid-nineteenth century, two of which are by canonical authors, Charles Dickens and George Eliot; two not as well known, Charles Kingsley and Charlotte Yonge. The nineteenth century, in particular the century’s central decades, was a time of great religious debate and division. Theological and popular elements within the Anglican Church sought to pull it in two different directions: The one towards the rights and practices of the Roman (Catholic) Church, the other towards the ‘Bibliocentric’ ideals of the Reformation. I argue that each of the novelists represented in this dissertation speaks to one of four divisions occurring within the Church at this period: High-Church Anglo-Catholicism (Charlotte Yonge), Broad-Church Christian Socialism (Charles Kingsley), Low-Church Evangelicalism (George Eliot), and ‘No-Church’ Protestant Dissent (Charles Dickens).



Anglican church. Victorian novel. Charles Dickens. George Eliot. Charles Kingsley. Charlotte Yonge.