DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES
Christopher Herbert (Northwestern University) received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He is a Victorianist specializing in the novel and in cultural and intellectual history.
The religious revival that swept across Britain between 1739 and 1830 has been described often as a “moral revolution” and as the origin of the ethical earnestness and the philanthropic sensitivities of the Victorian age that followed. This national conversion narrative takes on a sharply paradoxical aspect from the moment one discovers that almost the key doctrine of the great revival of faith was in fact the attempted dismantling of the ideal of moral virtue. Focusing first on writings of Wesley, Wilberforce, and some of their contemporary adversaries, this talk will then explore the religious vilifying of morality, or what is called “the rage of fanaticism,” in James Hogg’s Gothic masterpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner(1824).
Rutgers British Studies Center
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