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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

John Henry Newman’s autobiographical Apologia pro vita sua is generally seen as the book that rehabilitated his public reputation for integrity. This chapter retraces Newman’s handling of Kingsley’s initial accusation, and delineates the subsequent genesis of the book. The chapter looks in detail at how his contemporaries reacted in the press to its contents, and argues that modern critics have been blinded by Newman’s eloquence. The nineteenth-century reception of Apologia shows that, although early critics generally approved of Newman’s sincerity, they still remained highly critical of his theological ideas. The chapter also examines the limits and conditions of autobiographical writing in general and how Newman used the genre as a strategy to vindicate his name. Lastly, it addresses the way recent scholarship has changed the modern perception of the Apologia.

Keywords: Apologia pro vita sua, Charles Kingsley, autobiography, vindication, reception

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