Erotic Faith: Being in Love from Jane Austen to D. H. Lawrence

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 10, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 363 pages
In this profoundly original and far-reaching study, Robert M. Polhemus shows how novels have helped to make erotic love a matter of faith in modern life. Erotic faith, Polhemus argues, is an emotional conviction—ultimately religious in nature—that meaning, value, hope, and even the possibility of transcendence can be found in love.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, Polhemus shows the reciprocity of love as subject, the novel as form, and faith as motive in important works by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, the Brontės, Dickens, George Eliot, Trollope, Thomas Hardy, Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Throughout, Polhemus relates the novelists' representation of love to that of such artists as Botticelli, Vermeer, Claude Lorrain, Redon, and Klimt. Juxtaposing their paintings with nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts both reveals the ways in which novels develop and individualize common erotic and religious themes and illustrates how the novel has influenced our perception of all art.
 

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Contents

The Feather Plucked from Cupids Wing
1
Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice 1813
28
Walter Scotts The Bride of Lammermoor 1819
55
Emily Brontės Wuthering Heights 1817
79
Charlotte Brontės Villette 1853
108
Charles Dickenss Great Expectations 186061
137
George Eliots The Mill on the Floss 1860
168
Anthony Trollopes Phineas FinnPhineas Redux 186974
196
Thomas Hardys Far from the Madding Crowd 1874
223
The Joyce of Love and the Language of Flowers 190439
251
D H Lawrences Lady Chatterleys Lover 1928
279
The Art of Love and Love among the Ruins
307
Notes
313
Select Bibliography
335
Index
349
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About the author (1990)

Robert M. Polhemus is Chair of the English Department and Joseph S. Atha Professor in Humanities at Stanford University.

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