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Title: Charles Dickens : anti-Catholicism and Catholicism
Author: Eslick, Mark Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5810
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores the role of anti-Catholicism and Catholicism in the life and work of Charles Dickens. A critical consensus has emerged that Dickens was vehemently anti-Catholic. Yet a 'curious dream' he had of his beloved dead sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, in which her spirit appears to him in the guise of the Madonna, suggests that his overt anti-Catholicism masks a profoundly complex relationship to the 'Church of Rome'. 'Dickens: Anti-Catholicism and Catholicism' therefore re-evaluates the anti-Catholic sentiments in the author's novels, journalism and letters by contextualizing them in relation to key events of the nineteenth-century Catholic revival such as the 1850 Papal Aggression. I argue that Dickens often employs anti-Catholicism not simply as a religious prejudice, but as a mode of discourse through which he disrupts, displaces or reinforces a range of secular anxieties. 'Dickens: Anti-Catholicism and Catholicism' also uncovers and explores the often cryptic moments in Dickens's writing when Catholic motifs are invoked that suggest a strange 'attraction of repulsion' to Roman Catholicism. Catholicism seems to offer him a rich source of imaginative and narrative possibilities. Reading Dickens's fiction through the lens of Catholicism can therefore reveal a much more ambivalent relationship to the religion than his apparent beliefs as well as unearthing new ways of thinking about his work.
Supervisor: Bowen, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available