Religion permeated almost every aspect of Victorian life and culture, from Parliamentary politics to issues of marriage and sexuality, from class relations to literature and the life of the imagination. In order to understand Victorian culture and writings, modern readers need to understand Victorian religion in its public and its private aspects. But much in Victorian religious life can be baffling for modern readers. The sheer diversity of Victorian religious experience is one source of confusion. Also, doctrinal disputes and discoveries in science or textual criticism that loomed so large for Victorian Christians are now hard for most people to appreciate. The Anglican Church, its hierarchy, and its enormous range of ecclesiastical titles open up further opportunities for confusion.
Here, Melnyk offers a lively, thorough introduction to Victorian religious life, including the period between 1828 and 1901. Making sense of the diversity of religious thought and experience in Victorian Britain, she provides readers with a clear understanding of its role in the family and for the individual, the community, and society at large. This entertaining, readable introduction to Victorian religious life and controversies is ideal for anyone interested in Victorian life, literature, and culture.
About the Author
Julie Melnyk is Associate Director of the Honors College at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She has edited two collections of essays: Women's Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain and, with Nanora Sweet, Felicia Hemans: Reimagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1 Church and State: Politics and the Victorian Church of England
2 Variety in Victorian Religious Experience
3 A Clergymans Life
4 Religion and Daily Life
5 Religion and Reform
6 The Bible and Other Bestsellers
7 Women and Religious Life
8 The Victorian Religious Unsettlement
Appendix 1: The Thirty-nine Articles
Appendix 2: Anglican Creeds