ECU Libraries Catalog

The divine in the commonplace : reverent natural history and the novel in Britain / Amy M. King.

Author/creator King, Amy M. (Amy Mae) author.
Format Book and Print
Publication Info New York : Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Description1 volume : illustrations (black and white), maps (black and white).
Portion of title Reverent natural history and the novel in Britain
Series Cambridge studies in nineteenth-century literature and culture ;
Contents Machine generated contents note: Introduction: natural history, the theology of nature, and the novel; 1. Reverent natural history, the sketch, and the novel: modes of English realism in White, Mitford, and Austen; 2. Early Victorian natural history: reverent empiricism and the aesthetic of the commonplace; 3. The formal realism of reverent natural history: tidepools, aquaria and the seashore natural histories of P. H. Gosse and G. H. Lewes; 4. Reverence at the seashore: seashore natural history, Charles Kingsley's Two Years Ago (1855), and Margaret Gatty's Parables from Nature (1857); 5. Seeing the divine in the commonplace: George Eliot's paranaturalist realism, 1856-1859; 6. Elizabeth Gaskell's everyday: Reverent form and natural theology in Sylvia's Lovers (1863) and Wives and Daughters (1866); Epilogue: Barsetshire via Selborne: Anthony Trollope's The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867).
Abstract "Realism has long been associated with the secular, but in early nineteenth-century England a realist genre existed that was highly theological: popular natural histories informed by natural theology. The Divine in the Commonplace explores the 'reverent empiricism' of English natural history and how it conceives observation and description as a kind of devotion or act of reverence. Focusing on the texts of popular natural historians, especially seashore naturalists, Amy M. King puts these in conversation with English provincial realist novelists including Austen, Gaskell, Eliot and Trollope. She argues that English provincial novel has a 'reverent form' as a result of its connection to the practices and representational strategies of natural history writing in this period, which was both literary, empirical and reverent. This book will appeal to students and scholars of nineteenth-century literature, science historians and those interested in interdisciplinary connections between pre-Darwinian natural history, religion and literature"-- Provided by publisher.
Abstract "This book will show how British natural history writing in this period blended scientific observation with rhetoric that in some instances was overtly religious and others more generally Romantic. The popular natural historian Rev. J.G. Wood urged his readers to look on the abhorrent in nature (rats, snakes, spiders, and toads) with "a more reverent eye," while G.H. Lewes in Seaside Studies (1856) asserted that "in direct contact with nature we not only learn reverence by having our own insignificance forced on us, but we learn more and more appreciate the Infinity on all sides." The orientation towards the natural world evidenced by the narrative might best be described as reverent: the natural world is clearly venerated as exalted and superior, such that heightened attention to it seems a natural function of that respect." -- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography noteIncludes bibliographical references and index.
Genre/formCriticism, interpretation, etc.
LCCN 2019008500

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