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Title: Religious aspects of Charles Dickens's novels
Author: Walder, Dennis
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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This thesis is a study of the different aspects of Dickens's religions as these are expressed in the novels from the earliest works onwards. The central argument is that the different beliefs reflecting Dickens's position emerge with unique force at different times during his career; and that this becomes apparent to a closer historically informed and sensitive reading of the important scenes in his works. The approach is a combination of the chronological and the thematic, beginning with an account of the 'fall' of innocent goodness in Pickwick Papers, and ending with an exploration of religion itself as a theme in Little Dorrit, Dickens's most profound attempt to find a religious 'answer' to life's painful mysteries. The last novels, from A Tale of Two Cities to Edwin Drood, are dealt with briefly in a concluding chapter, as further examples of the expression of themes and attitudes already discussed in depth. The intervening chapters explore different aspects of the novelist's fundamental position as a liberal, even radical Protestant with Romantic leanings, the affirmation of Christian charity in Oliver Twist; the growing obsession with death and the possibility of establishing a personal, unorthodox but representative faith in immortality in The Old Curiosity Shop; the complex treatment of contemporary fanaticism and Catholicism in Barnaby Budge and related non-fiction; the overriding belief in the need for a 'change of heart' in the Christmas books, Martin Chusslewit and Dombey and Son; and the demand for a 'social gospel' in David Copperfield and Bleak House.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available