Leisure to repent : essays on the Bible at the origins of the English novel
Seidel, Kevin Sterling, Department of English, University of Virginia
Meulen, David Vander, Department of English, University of Virginia
Hunter, Paul, Department of English, University of Virginia
Cohen, Ralph, Department of English, University of Virginia
Using original research on the history of the English Bible to push forward debate about the history of the English novel, Leisure to Repent contains three pairs of essays. The first pair combines an essay on biblical criticism at the turn of the eighteenth century with an essay on John Bunyan's fiction in order to show how Pilgrim's Progress offers rest from the obligation to interpret the Bible as the great law of morality. The second pair combines an essay on the printing and distribution of the English Bible around the Atlantic with an essay on Daniel Defoe's three-book novel Robinson Crusoe to better understand the religious irony that Defoe uses to raises the status of his fictional narrator. The third pair combines an essay on Bible reading and devotional practices with an essay on Samuel Richardson's Clarissa to show how Richardson uses the psychological authority of scripture to hallow his descent into the characters in his novel. Together these essays show the different ways that these works of fiction appropriate the complex authority of the English Bible in order to raise their literary status and thereby gain the attention of later novelists, critics, and readers who canonize the English novel.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.
Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:35:37.
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