ELH: English Literary Histroy
Religious language exerted multivalent force in Victorian society, as this case study of Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton, Chartist political protest, and the weaponization of the Bible in contemporary social struggle makes clear. Scholars have established that different classes read the Bible differently; but I demonstrate how Gaskell makes the Bible read in several different ways for the same reader. Gaskell makes Bible quotations dissonant through her use of character and narration, in order to challenge the boundaries of readers’ political sympathies. This study shows how any religious utterance escapes the control and political interests of any class—and how its conflicting resonances can heal, kill, or destroy.
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Copyright © 2011 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in ELH, Volume 78, Issue 4, 2011, pages 917-941.
Singleton, J. (2011). The Dissonant Bible Quotation: Political and Narrative Dissension in Gaskell's Mary Barton. ELH: English Literary Histroy, 78 (4), 917-941. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.harding.edu/english-facpub/43