This book examines the attempts of four great Victorians to write what amounted to latter-day 'Pilgrim's Progresses'. Writing in and for an age whose spiritual needs and assumptions differed utterly from those of Bunyan, they produced very different kinds of books from his - but books which still owed as much to the puritan tradition of Pilgrim's Progress and Quarles Emblems, of spiritual biography and the typological reading of scripture, as to the secular redefinition of that tradition in the early nineteenth century. Carlyle's Sartor Resartus represents the closest convergence-point of these two sources. In its effort to combine traditional religious language and later Romantic ideas within the doctrine of 'natural supernaturalism', it may be seen as the prototypical Victorian novel - a Pilgrim's Progress whose hero must write his own guidebook, his own book of life. Professor Qualls uses Carlyle as a context for studying the thematic concerns and narrative activities of Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens and George Eliot.
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- Date Published: October 1982
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521272018
- length: 236 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.31kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Note on texts and abbreviations
Introduction: The WORD made novel
1. Carlyle in 'Doubting Castle'
2. The terrible beauty of Charlotte Brontë's 'natural supernaturalism'
3. Transmutations of Dickens' emblematic art
4. Speaking through parable: George Eliot
Conclusion: the novel as book of life
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