This biography is an account of the intellectual development of the early Victorian Romantic preacher Frederick William Robertson, a devotee of Dante, Goethe, Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Carlyle, and an admirer of German theology. His receptiveness to the School of Schleiermacher, along with his natural ability of popularizing the doctrines of liberal theology, contributed to the success of Robertson's sermons and posthumously published writings. His work helped to validate the reasonableness of Christian belief and the validity of spiritual experience and feelings for his contemporaries. The elopement of Robertson's mother, the odd circumstances surrounding his own marriage, and his own extra-marital affair are some of the key details uncovered here. In this book Christina Beardsley outlines the leading ideas of the priest's theology and preaching as well as of his extraordinary thinking with regard to gender. Gender is in fact one of the recurring themes in this biography. Robertson's way of perceiving femininity and experiencing his own masculinity reflects the Victorian gender debate and the Romantic preoccupation with the reconciliation of opposites.
A captivating reconstruction of puzzling episodes of Robertson's life where the author explores the gendered aspects of his thought and places new emphasis on his Romantic sensibility. This book would appeal to students of Victorian religion and culture; XIX century biographies; the faith/reason, doubt/belief and science/religion debates; German influence on English theology; aesthetics and theology; the history of English liberal theology; gender and culture.
Publisher: James Clarke & Co Ltd
Number of pages: 460
Weight: 690 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 27 mm
'In this meticulously researched and psychologically penetrating reconstruction of the life, thought and identity of nineteenth-century British clergyman Frederick William Robertson, Christina Beardsley introduces us to an individual upon whom the religious, philosophical and existential anxieties of the Victorian age converged. [...] the study will remind students of gender that the priority of religious modes of thought in nineteenth-century Britain necessitates a deep engagement with issues of theological complexity without which we cannot properly reconstruct the equally intricate manifestations of human sexual identities.'
Martin Spence, Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 18, No.2, 2012