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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the sermon in the Victorian novel. It argues that the Victorian novel influenced the path of the sermon in early twentieth-century novels, citing examples from James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist (1916) and Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust (1934). The Victorian novel, whether consciously or unconsciously, also worked to deconstruct the whole notion of a monologic discourse of truth which the sermon represents; the Victorian novel suggests truths are to be found in fictions which represent voices in ideological conflict. In other words, “truth” becomes something one constructs in dialogue with others rather than something one learns and then preaches to a silently submissive and obedient congregation.

Keywords: Victorian novel, sermons, truth, fiction, preaching

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