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Published: 12 April 2018

240 Pages


ISBN: 9780198812494

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Cultivating Belief

Victorian Anthropology, Liberal Aesthetics, and the Secular Imagination

Sebastian Lecourt

  • Explores how Victorian literary writers such as George Eliot, Walter Pater, and Matthew Arnold used anthropology to rethink the relationship between religion and liberal individualism
  • Puts recent critical work on Victorian liberalism (David Wayne Thomas, Elaine Hadley) into conversation with new critiques of secularism (Talal Asad, Charles Taylor, John Lardas Modern)
  • Re-envisions Victorian writing not as a site of religious crisis but rather as a place where intellectuals began to define religion as a generic feature of human life whose function could be debated — within both national and imperial frames
  • Examines the impact of anthropology upon aestheticism and concepts of self-cultivation