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Yorick's Congregation

The Church of England in the Time of Laurence Sterne

Martha F. Bowden

This volume examines the religious culture in which Sterne wrote his novels and sermons. Using passages from Sterne's work as starting points, the book demonstrates that the experience of life in country parishes forms an important context for the novels. The book draws on modern church history and eighteenth-century sources to show that the eighteenth-century Church of England constituted a strong social influence and was far from being the moribund and somnolent entity many literary studies have assumed. Beginning by addressing Sterne's ecclesiastical family background, it presents a general discussion of parish organizations and liturgical practices, preaching, religious controversy, women's roles in the Church, charitable activities, and anti-Catholicism. It also makes specific reference to Sterne's work, including an examination of the reception of Sterne's first volumes of sermons. The book concludes with a discussion of Tristram Shandy illuminated by this historical and cultural material. « less more »
University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 291Size: 6 3/4 x 9 3/4
978-1-61149-301-6 • Hardback • March 2007 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Martha F. Bowden is associate professor of English at Kennesaw State University.
A refresher course in the context of Sterne's adult life as a minister in the Anglican communion....Bowden skillfully assembles her materials to refute some of the more foolish commentaries about Sterne and existential godlessness.
Eighteenth-Century Studies