The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth

The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth

by Laura Dabundo


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Near its heart, English Romanticism-across many writers-acknowledges and celebrates a community that is not just secular but that derives meaning from a religious association and, in fact, a particularly denned religion, that is, Anglican Christianity.

William Wordsworth and Jane Austen, premier English Romantic poet and novelist, were baptized, confirmed, and buried (and for Wordsworth, married) in conformity with the Church of England. Of course, Wordsworth's commitment flagged in his twenties, but with marriage and responsibility came respectability and parishioner status. However, most twentieth-century critics interpret these writers' works outside the Christian realities with which their lives were much imbued, except for late Wordsworthian poems from his purported decline into conservative politics and religion and evident poetic senility.

Jane Austen did not live long enough to have a late decline, but critics have nonetheless overlooked her faith. It is not necessarily the surface of her writing, but Christianity is unquestionably the sea out of which her characters arise, her plots bubble up, and her themes unfold. It was her and their reality.

Notwithstanding this negative or blind critical precedent, Laura Dabundo highlights what most readers are conditioned to disregard, the ways in which the church saturates the writing of Wordsworth and Austen.

The Church of England's liturgy has traditionally been based on Scripture, which these writers would have known This book links their faith to their works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881462821
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 05/30/2012
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Personal Acknowledgments vii

1 Introduction 1

2 A Marriage of True Minds: The Community of Faith in Austen and Wordsworth 9

3 The Extrospective Vision of Wordsworth's The Excursion 22

4 The Voice of the Mute: Wordsworth and the Ideology of Romantic Silences 42

5 William Wordsworth, Biblical Intertextuality, and the Ethics of Community in English Romanticism 61

6 Walking the Walk through Wordsworth: the Journey on Foot 75

7 The Apostle Wordsworth: Trailing Clouds of Glory, Inspiring Fishers of Poets 82

8 The Devil and Jane Austen: Elizabeth Bennet's Temptation in the Wilderness 90

9 "The Redemption of the World": The Rhetoric of Jane Austen's Prayers 98

10 The City of Sisterly Love in Jane Austen 112

11 Conclusion: Jane Austen and William Wordsworth and the Marriage at Cana 128

Works Cited 139

Acknowledgments 147

Index 149

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