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Title: Typecast Victorians: uses of biblical typology in late nineteenth-century literature
Author(s): Ranum, Benedikte Torkelsdatter
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the literary uses of biblical typology in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. It aims to show how late Victorian writers, having opted out of the orthodox Christian beliefs of the age, were still writing from within a cultural discourse shaped by, and based upon, such faith. Covering works as diverse as Sartor Resartus, De Profundis, and The Island of Doctor Moreau, and discussing writers who range from Mary Augusta Ward via Hardy to Strindberg and Dostoevsky, my contention is that these writers not only used the structure, terminology, and imagery of biblical typology to express their religious doubts, but that they 'reclaimed' what was strictly seen as a mode of exegesis and transformed it into a richly suggestive signifying system. Through this reconstructed mode of expression, they could offer to their readers ideas of a new 'religion' or, at least, a possible way out of the despair caused by the ultimate failure of Christian faith. The thesis is presented in three parts, the first of which briefly details the various available definitions of biblical typology itself. Following this, each sub-section of Part One traces a different aspect of late Victorian typology usage. Parts Two and Three deal with what I claim to be the two major strains of the late nineteenth century's secular use of typology - those concerned, respectively, with the 'imitation of' or 'association with' biblical types in their relation to literary characters. The changes made to the traditional biblical typology by late Victorian writers, as examined in this thesis, brought the biblical anti-type closer to the Jungian archetype, just as it brought the Nineteenth Century closer to our twentieth-century view of our religious and textual inheritance.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Literature and Languages

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