This is the first full-length study of religion in the fiction of the Brontes. Drawing on extensive knowledge of the Anglican church in the nineteenth century, Marianne Thormahlen shows how the Brontes' 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 Brontes. The analyses of the novels clarify the constant interplay of human and Divine love in the development of the novels. While demonstrating that the Brontes' fiction usually reflects the basic tenets of Evangelical Anglicanism, the book emphasises the characteristic spiritual freedom and audacity of the Brontes. Lucid and vigorously written, it will open up new perspectives for Bronte specialists and enthusiasts alike on a fundamental aspect of the novels greatly neglected in recent decades.
'For those seeking a solid and scholarly guide to these writers in the religious context of their time this is an excellent book ... it is the kind of writing which will endure and remain valuable for many years to come.' Theology
"Thormahlen has written the first full-length study of the part that religion plays in the Bronte novels. A professor of English literature, the author displays an extraordinary knowledge of the 19th-century Anglican Church and its doctrinal, ethical and ecclesiastical issues and debates...Thoroughly annotated with a select bibliography,...it is absolutely required reading for those engaged in Bronte studies." G.B. Cross, Choice
"In addition to fine scholarship, the book is distinguished for an introduction that situates the topic of religion within the broader arena of today's critical attitudes...my reaction is gratitude. Gratitude for the time, energy, and care that have gone into this book. And also for the provision of such a convincing, gracious beginning to what will most likely be an increasingly informed understanding of the work of the Brontes. It is a book to Bronte scholarship, and to all who wish to restore religious and spiritual issues to the recognition that they deserve. I wish I had written it!" Micael M. Clarke, Religion & Literature
"The Brintes and Religion is especially useful as a guide to the theological and ecclesiastical world in which the novels were written and which they reflect, critique, and explore." Modern Philology