Thanks to a friend, who paid me the undeserved compliment that I know everything about English history and literature, I discovered first, this post about the Victorian autodidact Thomas Cooper and then these two books by Timothy Larsen, who is the Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College:
- A revisionist study that challenges the existing, dominant narrative of the Victorian `crisis of faith'
- Significant for literary, historical, and cultural readings of the Victorian era
- Appendix including mini biographies of key personalities in the study for ease of reference
1. Crisis of Faith
2. William Hone
3. Frederic Rowland Young
4. Thomas Cooper
5. John Henry Gordon
6. Joseph Barker
7. John Bagnall Bebbington
8. George Sexton
9. How Many Reconverts Were There?
10. Crisis of Doubt
A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians
- Presents the use of scripture as a unifying key to Victorian culture.
- Provides an introduction to the diversity of Victorian beliefs including reference to Catholic, Unitarian, Quaker, atheist, agnostic, liberal Anglican, Spiritualist, Salvation Army perspectives.
- Gives in-depth case studies of key figures including Florence Nightingale, T. H. Huxley, C. H. Spurgeon, Catherine Booth, E. B. Pusey, Charles Bradlaugh, Nicholas Wiseman, Grace Aguilar, Annie Besant, and Josephine Butler.
The scripture-saturated culture of nineteenth-century England is displayed by Timothy Larsen in a series of lively case studies of representative figures ranging from the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry to the liberal Anglican pioneer of nursing Florence Nightingale to the Baptist preacher C. H. Spurgeon to the Jewish author Grace Aguilar. Even the agnostic man of science T. H. Huxley and the atheist leaders Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were thoroughly and profoundly preoccupied with the Bible.
Serving as a tour of the diversity and variety of nineteenth-century views, Larsen's study presents the distinctive beliefs and practices of all the major Victorian religious and sceptical traditions from Anglo-Catholics to the Salvation Army to Spiritualism, while simultaneously drawing out their common, shared culture as a people of one book.
1. Anglo-Catholics: E. B. Pusey and Holy Scripture
2. Roman Catholics: Nicholas Wiseman and Sacred Scripture
3. Atheists: Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, and 'this indictable book'
4. Methodist and Holiness: Catherine Booth, William Cooke, and the Scriptures
5. Liberal Anglicans: Florence Nightingale and the Bible
6. Unitarians: Mary Carpenter and the Sacred Writings
7. Quakers: Elizabeth Fry and 'Reading'
8. Agnostics: T. H.Huxley and Bibliolatry
9. Evangelical Anglicans: Josephine Butler and the Word of God
10. Orthodox Old Dissent: C. H. Spurgeon and 'the Book'
Conclusion: Spiritualism, Judaism, and the Brethren - A People of One Book
You may read samples from the first book here and of the second, here Both look absolutely fascinating!