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Title: Writing the Lives of Dissent: Life Writing, Religion and Community from Edmund Calamy to Elizabeth Gaskell
Authors: James, Felicity
First Published: 3-Apr-2017
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Life Writing, 2017, 14 (2), pp. 185-197
Abstract: This essay explores the collaborative life writing of communities across time: specifically, the disparate, questioning, quarrelsome religious groupings of Rational Dissent as Unitarianism gradually emerged as a separate sect at the turn of the nineteenth century. It focusses on three moments of life writing in different genres by Rational Dissenters: sermons by Theophilus Lindsey, a memoir by his wife Hannah Lindsey, and the novel North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Moving across genre and century, it analyses the ways in which a Unitarian identity evolved through the nineteenth century, and asks how individuals constructed their own religious identity while also participating in a larger Dissenting tradition. Lacking a unifying creed, and with its adherents often professing different and sometimes contradictory theological beliefs, Unitarianism is not easy to define or describe. Yet this is precisely why group historiography and collective biographies become important: Rational Dissenters come to rely on shared allusions and narratives to bind them together, such as the memory of Black Bartholomew’s Day, the Great Ejection of 1662. The essay traces such allusions through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to explore the enduring collective concerns of a community—and to show how, in the hands of Gaskell, these might make their way into a larger literary dialogue.
DOI Link: 10.1080/14484528.2017.1291269
ISSN: 1448-4528
eISSN: 1751-2964
Embargo on file until: 3-Oct-2018
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of English

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