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Shaping BeliefCulture, Politics, and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Writing$
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Victoria Morgan and Clare Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315688

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Tell the Story: Re-imagining Victorian Conversion Narratives

Tell the Story: Re-imagining Victorian Conversion Narratives

(p.3) 1. Tell the Story: Re-imagining Victorian Conversion Narratives
Shaping Belief
Andrew Tate
Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores different models of conversion and how they shaped radical personal change in early and mid–Victorian Britain. Drawing on contemporary theories from the disciplines of religious studies, psychology, and literature, it considers the importance of conversion in the Victorian period beyond non–conformist Christianity. Beginning with the re–establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales in 1850, the chapter looks at stories of personal religious change and the theological debates surrounding the subject of conversion. It also analyses the ideas of eminent Victorian ‘converts’ such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon, John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin, along with narratives by less well known figures. Unlike Callum Brown who emphasises the socio–historical processes that gave rise to conversion, the chapter focuses on the intersections of theology, sociology, religious practice, and literary representation.

Keywords:   Britain, conversion, Victorian period, religious change, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, John Henry Newman, John Ruskin, theology, sociology, literary representation

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