Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction And Religious Controversy, 1820-1900

Paperback | December 30, 2013

byMiriam Elizabeth Burstein

not yet rated|write a review
In Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction and Religious Controversy, 1820-1900, Miriam Elizabeth Burstein analyzes the ways in which Christian novelists across the denominational spectrum laid claim to popular genres—most importantly, the religious historical novel—to narrate the aftershocks of 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation. Both Protestant and Catholic popular novelists fought over the ramifications of nineteenth-century Catholic toleration for the legacy of the Reformation. But despite the vast textual range of this genre, it remains virtually unknown in literary studies. Victorian Reformations is the first book to analyze how “high” theological and historical debates over the Reformation’s significance were popularized through the increasingly profitable venue of Victorian religious fiction. By putting religious apologists and controversialists at center stage, Burstein insists that such fiction—frequently dismissed as overly simplistic or didactic—is essential for our understanding of Victorian popular theology, history, and historical novels.
 
Burstein reads “lost” but once exceptionally popular religious novels—for example, by Elizabeth Rundle Charles, Lady Georgiana Fullerton, and Emily Sarah Holt—against the works of such now-canonical figures as Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot, while also drawing on material from contemporary sermons, histories, and periodicals. Burstein demonstrates how these novels, which popularized Christian visions of change for a mass readership, call into question our assumptions about the nineteenth-century historical novel. In addition, her research and her conceptual frameworks have the potential to influence broader paradigms in Victorian studies and novel criticism.
 
"In Victorian Reformations, Miriam Elizabeth Burstein persuasively shows how non-canonical Victorian historical novels offer essential insights into the shaping and importance of Victorian religious debates. Informative and well-argued, her book is a significant work for those who are interested in Victorian literature and Victorian religion, as well as the intersection of the two." —Carol Engelhardt Herringer, Wright State University
 

"Miriam Burstein examines how the Victorians began to reenvision the Protestant Reformation in an effort to confront and combat their own religious anxieties about sectarianism and secularization. She raises the very broad issues of how to write 'historical fiction,' exactly what it is, and what theoretical concerns emerge when one tries to capture the past from a distant vantage point. Most impressive to me is the way that 'theory' is brought into the discussion, but does not overwhelm the close analysis of more than three dozen literary texts." —Diane Long Hoeveler, author of Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780-1820
 
"Victorian Reformations sheds fresh light on the significance of religion in historical nineteenth-century fiction. The argument is subtle but strong, buttressed by meticulous scholarship and conveyed in vigorous prose that keeps the reader focused and stimulated throughout. This readable and independent-minded study will be a boon to research on the nineteenth century, not only in the field of literature but also in those of history and religious studies." —Marianne Thormählen, Lund University

Pricing and Purchase Info

$58.49 online
$58.50 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

In Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction and Religious Controversy, 1820-1900, Miriam Elizabeth Burstein analyzes the ways in which Christian novelists across the denominational spectrum laid claim to popular genres—most importantly, the religious historical novel—to narrate the aftershocks of 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipati...

Miriam Elizabeth Burstein is associate professor of English at the College at Brockport, State University of New York.

other books by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein

Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction and Religious Controversy, 1820-1904
Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction and Religiou...

Kobo ebook|Dec 1 2013

$45.49 online$59.06list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 30, 2013Publisher:University Of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268022380

ISBN - 13:9780268022389

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction And Religious Controversy, 1820-1900

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

"Burstein's elegantly written study is the first work by a literary historian to focus on 'controversial historical novels,' that is, on novels that intervene in this public discourse by presenting fictionalized histories of the Reformation." —Horizons, vol. 41, issue 2, December 2014