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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Networks of biblical allusion in the fiction of Dickens reveal the Judaeo-Christian grand narrative as source of story, structure, and imagery: as the ontological ground on which he stands to appeal to the social conscience of his readership, to set religious discourse in dialogue with other Victorian discourses, and to engage in topical theological disputes. His ‘Carol Philosophy’ celebrates the cultural role of the Incarnation narrative; his deathbed scenes reflect anxieties about time and progress, death and the future life. He deploys the conventions of the Gothic and the ghost-story to engage contemporary fascination with the supernatural, but looks to nature for evidence of divine power and intent, disclosed in liminal spaces and numinous moments. This chapter responds to current approaches to Dickens’s religion: Intertextuality, Discourse and Genre Studies, The Providential Aesthetic, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Philosophy and Religion, especially the work of Bakhtin and Ricoeur.

Keywords: religion, theology, Bible, providentialism, Gothic, ghost-story, Christmas, deathbed, Bakhtin, Ricoeur

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