Rocking the Boat and Sinking the Ark: the Humanist Novel as Vehicle for the Victorian Religious Crisis
Marini, Melissa Ruth
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Novel reading was a popular pastime among women in the Victorian period. During the same time period, scientific publications were being produced that were questioning the role of (and the existence of) God and His involvement in the world: its creation and its inhabitants. Elements of those scientific works (evolution, geological time, adaptation, survival of the fittest, etc.) were woven into the texts of humanist novels by the authors who attended meetings where those ideas were presented. As a result, uneducated women were introduced to ideas that they could not incorporate into their lives, and as a result the religious crisis in Victorian Britain, already underway, was furthered and more widespread by the popularity of the humanist novel.
- English