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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Catholicism in Victorian Women’s Novels” argues that while Roman Catholicism often appeared in nineteenth-century British fiction as a trope for patriarchal dominance, medieval superstition, and foreign violation of English norms, some Victorian women writers began to portray it in a more complicated way. Taking George Eliot’s Romola and Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins as case studies, this essay suggests that, in the aftermath of the Oxford Movement and the increasing role of Catholicism within the British civic sphere, Eliot and Grand present Catholicism as simultaneously submission and rebellion, as a mode of oppression, and as a symbolic possibility for women’s escape from the restrictions of normative Protestant domestic life.

Keywords: Catholicism, George Eliot, Gender, Sarah Grand, Heavenly Twins, Madonna, Oxford Movement, Religion, Romola, Women

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