Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Nineteenth-Century Decline of Religious Orthodoxy

During the nineteenth century, scholarly clergymen like Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), J.R. Green (1837-1883), and J.E. Thorold Rogers (1823-1890) “felt it their duty of conscience to resign their orders.” Doubt and unbelief in the nineteenth century, it has been said, brought on by the concept of evolution and the “higher criticism” in biblical scholarship, led to […]

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Narrative and History: Hayden White’s Philosophy of History

Historians of the late nineteenth century were quick to disassociate their discipline from literature, arguing that historical writing was like scientific analysis. History does not have “aesthetic forms”—it was not a “narrative.” History was a science. But by late twentieth century, theorists and historians were beginning to emphasize—or perhaps re-emphasize—the links between history, narrative, and […]

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The Cambridge Companion to the Victorians

The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1740-1830, edited by Thomas Keymer and Jon Mee, The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1830-1914, edited by Joanne Shattock, and The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture (2010), edited by Francis O’Gorman is yet another useful collection of smart, lucid, and engaging essays by British Victorianists. Keymer and Mee’s volume […]

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The Late-Victorian Agnostic Popularizers

Bernard Lightman’s “Ideology, Evolution and Late-Victorian Agnostic Popularizers” in Moore’s  History, Humanity and Evolution (1989) deserves special mention. He argues that agnosticism was presented as a religious creed that had evolved out of Christianity by agnostic propagandists such as Charles Albert Watts (1858-1946), William Stewart Ross (1844-1906), Richard Bithell (1821-1902), Frederick James Gould (1855-1938), Samuel […]

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