The Brontës and Religion (paperback)
appeared from Cambridge University Press in 1999. The first full-length study of religion in the Brontë fiction, it shows how the Brontës’ familiarity with the contemporary debates on doctrinal, ethical, and ecclesiastical issues informs their novels. Divided into four parts, the book examines denominations, doctrines, ethics, and clerics in the work of the Brontës. The analyses of the novels clarify the constant interplay of human and divine love in their development. While demonstrating that the Brontës’ fiction is usually in agreement with the basic tenets of Evangelical Anglicanism, The Brontës and Religion emphasises the characteristic spiritual freedom and audacity of the Brontës. Lucid and vigorously written, it opens up new perspectives for Brontë specialists and enthusiasts alike on a fundamental aspect of the novels greatly neglected in recent decades.
Excerpts from reviews: “[a] well-informed [study] based on scrupulous readings and meticulous judgments” (Times Literary Supplement); “[the author’s] willingness to read with the grain of the novels’ religion makes for absorbing reading” (Victorian Studies); “a refreshingly textual study of the Brontës’ fiction” (The Review of English Studies); “a work of extraordinarily comprehensive scholarship” (The Journal of Ecclesiastical History); “the kind of writing which will endure and remain valuable for many years to come” (Theology); “I very much enjoyed this book” (Reviews in Religion & Theology).