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III. REACTIONS AGAINST VICTORIAN ORTHODOXY
Dr. Alina Bottez

III. 1. Religious faith in Victorian England:
- Evangelicalism, the Oxford Movement, Christian Socialism
- Mid Victorian period – Christianity under attack:
- The impact of the German school of the Higher Criticism of the Bible: David Friederich
Strauss’s The Life of Jesus, translated into English in 1846 by George Eliot
- Dicoveries in the field of the natural sciences:
Biology
- Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck (1744-1829; French): coined
the terms for special sciences: chemistry, meteorology, geology, and botany-zoology
- Georges Cuvier (1769-1832; French): the “father of paleontology”; compared living animals
with fossils.
- Robert Chambers (1802-1871; Scottish): Phrenology = pseudomedicine primarily focused on
measurements of the human skull; very popular in the 19th c, esp. 1810-1840.)
- Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913; British): “father of biogeography” (the study of the
distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space and through [geological] time);
independently conceived the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper – jointly
published with some of Darwin’s writings in 1858.

Geology
- Charles Lyell (1797-1875; British):
- Author of Principles of Geology (popularised James Hutton’s concepts of
uniformitarianism: the features of the crust of the Earth were formed by means of natural
processes over geologic time).
- Principles of Geology challenged G. Cuvier’s theories.
- Explained earthquakes; theories about volcanoes and stratigraphy;
- Coined the currently-used names for geological eras: Paleozoic, Mesozoic; Cenozoic.
- One of the first to believe that the world is older than 300 million years

1859 (the influence of Robert Malthus’s ideas) . . -Verified data (positive facts) received from the senses = empirical evidence.Agnosticism: the truth values of certain claims are unknown and perhaps unknowable. . 2 . theology – rejected. .“Agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist” (William L.He later published evidence from geology of the time man had existed on Earth. thus positivism is based on empiricism.M. (Comte substituted the religion of humanity to Christianity. .Thomas Henry Huxley (English biologist) coined the word “agnostic” in 1869. BC.God is “a term of poetry and eloquence” .Introspection. .) .Darwin’s The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Rowe) .) .Helped arrange the simultaneous publication in 1858 of papers by Darwin and Wallace on natural selection (despite his personal religious). “The Nasadiya Sukta” = “The Hymn of Creation”.Atheism .Society. operates according to general laws.Doctrine/set of tenets rather than a religion as such.The modern sense of the approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century: Religion of Humanity. .“The Study of Poetry” – “Poetry will replace religion” (Jesus – model of moral behaviour. Arnold’s Religion and Dogma adapted the notion of religion . anonymous (in the Rigveda – ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymn) – agnosticism about the origin of the universe.Contributed to Darwin’s theory . intuitition. . Greek philosopher – agnosticism about “the gods”). metaphysics. Indian philosopher – agnosticism about any afterlife). Arnold eliminates the miraculous) .Precursors: Protagoras (5th c. Sanjaya Belatthaputta (5th c. BC.Positivism: a philosophical theory stating that positive (= certain) knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. . like the physical world.

the servant of a tender conscience. I. one who. and in smooth working order. 344) . and does with ease and pleasure the work that.. The Victorian concern with EDUCATION .) has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will. Arnold) That man (. not Latin..Ideal education: a balanced blend between Hellenism and Hebraism.Originally an evangelical Oxford University academic and priest in the Church of England . English biologist) . for the perception of its own proper object.Defended humanist education against Thomas Huxley (1825-1895.) instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose. as a mechanism.1845: Newman left the Church of England and joined the Catholic Church. like a steam engine. . whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the great and fundamental truths of Nature and of the laws of her operatons. whose intellect is a clear. who has learned to . prof.Newman’s concept of liberal education or “a gentleman’s knowledge” . no stunted ascetic. . .Drawn to the high-church tradition of Anglicanism. and for its own higher culture (. ready. and spin the gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind. it is capable of. . of poetry at Oxford 1857-1867 .Became a leader of the Oxford Movement = an influential and controversial group of Anglicans who wished that the Church of England should retrieve many Catholic beliefs and liturgical rituals from before the English Reformation. . = the first to deliver his lectures in English. some specific trade or profession or a study of science” (see PEV vol.. is full of life and fire.Instrumental in founding the Catholic University of Ireland . but whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will. logic engine.John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – Catholic cardinal and theologian. important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th c.Scientific (Thomas Huxley) versus humanist education (M. 3 2.A.Essay: The Idea of a University – the development of intellect “for its own sake. . cold. to be turned to any kind of work. with all its parts of equal strength..Matthew Arnold (1822-1888): inspector of schools for 30 years.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) . to work sore and yet gain nothing. I. . John Ruskin (1819-1900) and William Morris (1834-1896).Scottish philosopher. 699) 3.Reaction against it = communal thinking: Thomas Carlyle.Past and Present. Reactions against Victorian orthodoxy: . vol. . imprisoned in a deaf.Paternalism (a sense of duty to vassal people. whether of Nature or of art. 4 love all beauty. Victorian Orthodoxy – Thomas Babington Macaulay: The History of England from the Accession of James II – typical Victorian belie: a new society is an improvement upon the preceding ones.Mediaevalism: Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). yet isolated. John Ruskin.Belief in the satisfaction of the manual work of craftsmen – the builders of the mediaeval (Gothic) cathedrals . .Signs of the Times (1829 – essay): the Age of Machinery – “Men are grown mechanical in heart. . vol II. essayist. to be heart worn. all our life long. above classes.Victorian orthodoxy = individualism . chapter XIII – Democracy: the working classes’ condition is to live miserable. infinite injustice (…) Do we wonder at French Revolutions. nostalgia for an earlier world . not tyrants. 4-5) .The essay – a specific Victorian literary species in prose I. as well as in hand” (PEV. satirical writer. and to respect others as himself. to hate all vileness. IV – “A Liberal Education”. unrelated. it is to die slowly. PEV. Views of history: 1. Matthew Arnold .Heroism . (Huxley: “Science and Education”. we know not why.Protest against machinery (= industrialisation). historian and teacher. or those lower in rank) . dead.Their view of the authoritarian state: the rulers = enlightened men with a sense of responsibility to the community. girt-in [inconjurati] with a cold universal laissez-faire.

sincerity – his criteria for great art (embodiment of the moral spirit): Modern Painters. Schelling. Fichte. The Stones of Venice and the revival of Gothic architecture: Gothic art symbolizes virtue and faith . Carlyle inspired his political theories and the role of the hero in human history: Of Hero and Hero Worship (the military leader. spiritual crisis at the age of 18 – lost his faith in God. 177) . In his turn. I.Spiritual crisis is reflected in Sartor Resartus (The Taylor Retaylored – allegorical novel. based on Kant’s writings. Goethe. cultivates perfection. Bildungsroman of Professor Teufelsdröckh). Novalis. but the men (…) into mere segments of men – broken into small fragments and crumbs of life.Beauty.Ruskin’s mediaevalism influenced The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (the first romantic movement of poets and artists). the poet hero. philanthropist . one of the fathers of German nationalism). art patron. . (PEV.Fervent evangelicalism . he influenc ed American Transcendentalism (Emerson – a great admirer).Calvinistic education. vol. p.” (PEV. which is not the ideal) . watercolourist. prominent social thinker.Irresponsibility of the ruling classes.From Fichte (a founder figure of German idealism. John Ruskin (1819-1900) . . His solution of man’s salvation is to forget about his personal troubles and think of communal well-being. nobility. took up the study of German and became a great scholar of German culture (essays on Herder. their escapism eventually led to aestheticism and “Art for Art’s Sake” . 794) .The leading English art critic of the Victorian era.Apology of imperfection (criticised Renaissance art – corruption and hypocrisy. Vol. the religious leader. draughtsman. 5 Chartisms. the hero as man of letters). I. Revolts of Three Days? Liberty (…) has become the liberty to die of starvation. their lack of perceiving an imminent danger .Ruskin’s reaction to the division of labour: “It is not the labour that is divided.

6 .Definition of culture – the study of perfection. which will produce a harmonious and enlightened culture and society. stress on conduct and obedience. Sweetness and Light. 4. of the best that has been thought and created in the world. early promoter of the Working Men’s College. social critic Culture and Anarchy (1869): 1. literary critic. because “it seeks to do away with classes.Hellenism = intellectual concern with things as they really are (knowledge through reason.Ruskin had socialist ideas (community): founded the Guild of Saint George.The solution for Britain – a balance of Hellenism and Hebraism.Culture makes for the individual’s “best self”. Plato’s ideas) . emphasised by Puritanism. where he also taught Matthew Arnold (1822-1888): poet. 2. pp. . Barbarians. The men of culture are the true apostles of equality. Hebraism and Hellenism. produces the right type of state leaders. Populace. . Doing as One Likes. Vol. labouring to humanize knowledge. (PEV. 3. . Philistines. “alien to their class” . II. A’s concept of culture = his solution to the social situation. Its study leads to the expansion of the human family . to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere (…).Against the strong individualism of the age. 464/65) .Hebraism: concern with the will of God.