Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the religious topicality of Barnaby Rudge by reading the novel in the context of the virulent anti-Catholicism of the late 1830s and early 1840s. Barnaby Rudge is deeply ambivalent towards Catholicism, a religion Dickens frequently railed against. The novel imparts a real sympathy for victimized Catholics. Yet throughout the book Catholicism is oddly constituted and Catholic characters are compromised. Intriguingly, Dickens’s portrait of Gashford, the malevolent secretary of Lord George Gordon, resonates strongly with contemporary anti-Jesuit writing and seems to play upon Protestant fears of Jesuits conspiring to infiltrate and destabilize England. Barnaby Rudge’s ambivalence towards the Catholic religion therefore offers a fresh lens through which to view Dickens’s complex relationship with the Catholic religion. Catholicism may hold a strange ‘attraction of repulsion’ for Dickens by providing him with a rich source of imaginative and narrative possibilities.

Keywords: Barnaby Rudge, Gashford, anti-Catholicism, Protestantism, Jesuit riots, British history

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.