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Augustinian virtue in the Dickensian world

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Date Issued:
2010
Summary:
The novels of Charles Dickens resonate with ancient and Christian moral messages: From plots and characters representative of Victorian ideals and concerns emerge themes that reflect centuries of moral, and, as I argue, specifically Augustinian, teaching. While the Christian overtones of Charles Dickens's novels are seldom denied, their Augustinian nature, their purpose, and Dickens's hopes for their effect are rarely given their proper due. In opposition to the postmodern idea of an increasing nihilism and despair in Dickens's message, I examine instead his steadfast fascination with and joy in the power of charitable friendships-friendships that embody goodness and the possibility for conversion, friendships that are especially noteworthy amid the societal darkness ushered in by the crises of faith that accompanied nineteenth-century industrialization, commercialization, and de-moralization. Preparing to highlight the undeniable moral value in both the rejected and realized friendships and conversions of Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, and Great Expectations, first I focus on true friendship as a necessary part of a soul's ascent developed in Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus, as well as in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, illustrating how these classical texts anticipate the Augustinian notion of a soul's transformation from the earthly city to the city of God. With this literary continuum thus established, I contend that the Heavenly City as it is reflected in the Dickensian world relies on its virtuous citizens, those true friends who consistently manifest Christian charity, humility, and forgiveness.
Title: Augustinian virtue in the Dickensian world: the role of Christian friendship in the conversion of souls and the move toward the Heavenly City.
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Name(s): Kriegel, Jill A.
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of English
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Physical Form: electronic
Extent: vii, 244 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: The novels of Charles Dickens resonate with ancient and Christian moral messages: From plots and characters representative of Victorian ideals and concerns emerge themes that reflect centuries of moral, and, as I argue, specifically Augustinian, teaching. While the Christian overtones of Charles Dickens's novels are seldom denied, their Augustinian nature, their purpose, and Dickens's hopes for their effect are rarely given their proper due. In opposition to the postmodern idea of an increasing nihilism and despair in Dickens's message, I examine instead his steadfast fascination with and joy in the power of charitable friendships-friendships that embody goodness and the possibility for conversion, friendships that are especially noteworthy amid the societal darkness ushered in by the crises of faith that accompanied nineteenth-century industrialization, commercialization, and de-moralization. Preparing to highlight the undeniable moral value in both the rejected and realized friendships and conversions of Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, and Great Expectations, first I focus on true friendship as a necessary part of a soul's ascent developed in Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus, as well as in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, illustrating how these classical texts anticipate the Augustinian notion of a soul's transformation from the earthly city to the city of God. With this literary continuum thus established, I contend that the Heavenly City as it is reflected in the Dickensian world relies on its virtuous citizens, those true friends who consistently manifest Christian charity, humility, and forgiveness.
Identifier: 650509398 (oclc), 2683142 (digitool), FADT2683142 (IID), fau:3500 (fedora)
Note(s): by Jill A. Kriegel.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2010.
Includes bibliography.
Electronic reproduction. Boca Raton, Fla., 2010. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Subject(s): Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Dickens, Charles, 1719-1793
Christianity in literature -- Criticism and interpretation
Religion in literature -- Criticism and interpretation
Friendship in literature -- Criticism and interpretation
Soul -- Christianity
Held by: FBoU FAUER
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/FAU/2683142
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Owner Institution: FAU