This comprehensive volume provides an analysis of 145 social gospel novels. Describing various conflicts presented in the American popular literary history that advocated social reform via Christian ethics during the latter half of the 19th century, the author also documents the existence of a sizable body of social Christian fiction in the period between 1865 and 1900. Wright examines the movement within American Protestant churches that called for the application of Christian principles to the solution of social and economic problems, particularly those related to the confrontation of Christian ethic and the changes generated by the shift from agriculture to industry in the United States. The introduction presents the complex issues associated with the rapid industrialization and urbanization of this country and with the conflict of Protestant values with those of the rising middle class. Individual chapters explore the varieties of social Christian novels, the effect of social change on theology as represented in the social Christian novel, and the social Christian novel as literature.
The only book of its kind about social gospel fiction, the work surveys the subject from divergent points of view. Works examining the causes of economic and theological maladjustment in the nation are presented and works concerned with the effects. The Social Christian Novel will be of immeasurable value in nineteenth-century American studies, the study of American literature, and studies in American social history.
About the Author
ROBERT GLENN WRIGHT was Professor of English at Michigan State University. His works include the Author Bibliography of English Language Fiction in the Library of Congress Through 1950.
Table of Contents
The Varieties of Social Christian Novels
The Effect of Social Change on Theology as Represented in the Social Christian Novel
The Social Christian Novel as Literature
Appendix: Annotated List of Socail Christian Novels
Bibliography of Interpretive Works