Evangelical Gothic: The English Novel and the Religious War on Virtue from Wesley to Dracula

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Evangelical Gothic explores the bitter antagonism that prevailed between two defining institutions of nineteenth-century Britain: Evangelicalism and the popular novel. Christopher Herbert begins by retrieving from near oblivion a rich anti-Evangelical polemical literature in which the great religious revival, often lauded in later scholarship as a "moral revolution," is depicted as an evil conspiracy centered on the attempted dismantling of the humanitarian moral culture of the nation. Examining foundational Evangelical writings by John Wesley and William Wilberforce alongside novels by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Bram Stoker, and others, Herbert contends that the realistic popular novel of the time was constitutionally alien to Evangelical ideology and even, to some extent, took its opposition to that ideology as its core function. This provocative argument illuminates the frequent linkage of Evangelicalism in nineteenth-century fiction with the characteristic imagery of the Gothic-with black magic, with themes of demonic visitation and vampirism, and with a distinctive mood of hysteria and panic.

ISBN: 
9780813943404
Binding: 
Hardcover
Publication Date: 
November 20, 2019