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Victorian Pilgrimage

Sacred-Secular Dualism in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot

M. Joan Chard

Victorian Pilgrimage: Sacred-Secular Dualism in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot argues that Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot are foremost among nineteenth-century novelists to explore the pilgrimage motif, a major preoccupation of the Victorian imagination. Drawing upon their primary sources of the journey archetype—the King James Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress, and popular hymns—they reveal in their work the significance of the religious impetus, which in their treatment is neither narrowly moralistic nor conformist. Recognizing the radicality of scripture free of its patriarchal bias, they bring a feminine sensibility to their delineation of gender ideologies in romantic and marital relationships as well as to their reformulation of the traditional fictional heroine. Their female protagonists are caught in the struggle between succumbing to the stereotypical ideal of womanhood and attaining authentic selfhood leading to both personal and social transformation. Sharing the conviction that the main dilemma of their times is the separation of sacred from secular, Brontë, Gaskell, and Eliot, each with a distinctive approach to the theme, open up fresh perceptual and relational pathways for pilgrimage.

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Names: Chard, M. Joan, author. Title: Victorian pilgrimage: sacred-secular dualism in the novels of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot / M. Joan Chard. Other titles: Sacred-secular dualism in the novels of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2019. Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2019017726 | ISBN 978-1-4331-6212-1 (hardback: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-6215-2 (ebook pdf) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6216-9 (epub) ISBN 978-1-4331-6217-6 (mobi) Subjects: LCSH: English fiction—19th century—History and criticism. English fiction—Women authors—History and criticism. Pilgrims and pilgrimages in literature. | Religion in literature. | Women in literature. Brontë, Charlotte, 1816–1855—Criticism and interpretation. Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn, 1810–1865—Criticism and interpretation. Eliot, George, 1819–1880—Criticism and interpretation. Classification: LCC PR878.P52 C53 2019 | DDC 823/.809—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019017726 DOI 10.3726/b15765

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.

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