New approaches derived from social history invite reassessment of the importance of religion throughout the history of the period, drawing attention to the interpenetration of religious and secular viewpoints and activities. Ideas have seized the imagination of men and women, whatever might be their truth or falsehood. The paradoxical contradictions related to Catholicism in its most sensational representations throw into sharp relief the many intellectual rifts and emotional tensions secreted in the lived experience of Victorian women and men. Catholic sensationalism provides new specificity and visibility to the imaginative ways in which Victorian culture attempted to enunciate its own inconsistencies.
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