Preaching religion, family and memory in nineteenth-century England

Colpus, Eve (2010) Preaching religion, family and memory in nineteenth-century England. Gender & History, 22, (1), 38-54. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0424.2009.01577.x).


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This article explores the religious selfhood of an exemplary Bible Christian woman, Mary Thorne (1807–1883). Founded in 1815 as a splinter group of Wesleyan Methodism, the Bible Christian denomination invoked an epistemology which stressed the correlation between religious and familial obligations. A close study of Mary Thorne's private writings suggests the tensions which existed within this ideal at the level of everyday life. Her writings open a window on a religious woman's negotiation of her public identity alongside her experiences of marriage, sexuality and motherhood. They show the impact of age, life cycle and memory in the process of self-imagining and commemoration. Critically, they also show how dependent Thorne's self-realisation and presentation were on material signs of her identity. In understanding the varying constructions of Mary Thorne's religious selfhood, I argue we might more fully understand the material cultures that underpinned evangelical religion and domesticity in nineteenth-century Britain.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1468-0424.2009.01577.x
ISSNs: 0953-5233 (print)
1468-0424 (electronic)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions : Faculty of Humanities > History
ePrint ID: 343233
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
April 2010Published
15 March 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2012 16:38
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:34

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