Reservations about Barchester...
Posted by Helen on March 11, 1998 at 13:49:54:
In response to Evangelizing, written by Valerie McKnight on March 10, 1998 at 23:34:24
] The plot of Anthony Trollope's novel Barchester Towers is based on the conflicts between different parties in the C. of E. It's pretty funny to a reader familiar with Austen, because it goes into all the gory details of church politics that she only hints at!
... You really can't look to a mid-Victorian novel to give an accurate picture of church politics in the Regency, because the whole scene changed somewhat in the 1830's with the Oxford movement (tending towards Anglo-Catholicism). This is a subject on which I can talk for hours because one of my favourite novelists, Charlotte Yonge (whom I recommend to all) was a leading member of said Movement, but since it's not really relevant to JA, I will restrain myself here unless anyone has a burning desire for enlightenment... By this stage also the radical fervour of the Evangelical movement had died down somewhat. The Church of England therefore had two wings, High and Low Church. To compare the Evangelicals of JA's time to today's charismatics in relation to established church life is apt, but by the mid-century they too had changed (like all revolutionary movements, losing their edge and joining the establishment).
I don't think that condemnation of Sunday travelling was the property of the Evangelicals alone, though. Mainstream pious works such as The Whole Duty of Man (and its sequel The Whole Duty of Woman) carried similar messages.
By the way, I posted some other quotes a long time ago from JA's letters about her religious sentiments on the P&P board, relating to the subject of marrying for love, but I don't have time to look for them at the moment. I'll try and dig that discussion out of the archives at some point...
On the subject of Sunday travelling
- Mr. T. & Miss A. Valerie Mc. 22:27:33 3/11/98 (5)
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