Religion and Society in England, 1850-1914
Wells, William G., Journal of Church and State
Religion and Society in England,1850-1914. By Hugh McLeod. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. 267 pp. $39.95 cloth; $18.95 paper.
Religion and Society in England is one of three published works in the Social History in Perspective Series, which examines different issues in modern British culture and history. This contribution by Hugh McLeod, church historian at the University of Birmingham, brings the reader to a better, more complete understanding of the religious complexity of Victorian England. By explaining the justifications for some popular stereotypes and myths, and exploding others, McLeod makes a needed contribution to Victorian studies.
Religion and Society contains four major sections. In the first 70-page section, "Patterns of Religious Belonging," McLeod divides the English populace into five general groupings based on religious identity: Anglicans, Nonconformists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Secularists. While the people within these groups were not homogeneous, the author uses contemporary censuses, church attendance records, and demographic data to underscore the distinctive cultures and subcultures represented within each of these groups. "Church" attendance by Anglicans was distinguished from "Chapel" attendance by religious Dissenters and Nonconformists. Attention is given to the analysis and distribution of each group according to social and economic class, gender, and the peculiarities of town versus countryside citizens. Importantly, the presence of religious minorities and antireligious secularists is not given short shrift, but rather occupies a significant portion of the discussion.
The other three sections treat the identity of Victorian England as a "Christian Country." McLeod brings into sharp relief the Victorian paradox …
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Publication information: Article title: Religion and Society in England, 1850-1914. Contributors: Wells, William G. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 39. Issue: 4 Publication date: Autumn 1997. Page number: 807+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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