Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Victorian Conscience: F. W Robertson. Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Victorian Conscience: F. W Robertson. Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

Article excerpt

MARILYN THOMAS FAULKENBURG. Victorian Conscience: F. W Robertson. Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. New York, New York: Peter Lang, 2001. Pp. xvii+ 316, bibliography, index. $64.95.

F. W. Robertson of Brighton was celebrated as the greatest preacher of his day. Born in 1816, he died while still in his thirties, exhausted by the demands of pulpit and pastoral work. Raised in a military family, Robertson was diverted into the Anglican ministry, serving, after a brief curacy in Winchester, in the evangelical bastion of Cheltenham from 1842 to 1846. Disliking the oppressive religious atmosphere of the town, he escaped to the continent to work through a crisis of faith. A combination of Alpine mountains and German metaphysics re-orientated his intellectual style, allowing him to return to regular preaching. After two months at St. Ebbe's in Oxford, he moved on to Brighton, where, amidst the social elite of the fashionable watering place, he attained homiletic stardom over the six years that remained until his death in 1853. It was a meteoric career attended by public controversies with the evangelicals he had deserted and commemorated posthumously by four immensely influential volumes of sermons. Robertson, though dying before the term was current, was one of the leading lights of the broad-church school.

This biography is an attempt to draw attention to an unjustly neglected figure. Written by Marilyn Thomas Faulkenburg, a professor at Menlo College, Atherton, California, it highlights an aspect of Robertson's life that was neglected by his first biographer, Stopford A. Brooke, in 1865. …

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