Miriam Elizabeth Burstein is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York, The College at Brockport. Her research and teaching interests focus on nineteenth-century British literature with an emphasis on historical novels, women writers, and the intersection of literature and religion.
Burstein’s presentation, “Hybridous Monsters: Constructing ‘Religion’ and ‘the Novel’ in the Early Nineteenth Century,” addresses the debate about “religious novels” in the nineteenth century, evaluating the extent to which this nineteenth-century debate has influenced contemporary Victorian scholarship with regards to the failure of the religious novel to fulfill its purpose both as a novel or a religious work.
Letter from Robert Browning to John Kenyon. [8 December 1845].
In this letter Browning expresses his opinion about an unidentified religious novel.
. . . my father says it is the first of the religious novels-(not romances). Let it figure among your books (at the house-top) as one sees from time to time in the shop of a Bondstreet Fishmonger some thorny queer lump-fish suspended as a show over all the good quiet ordinary turbots and salmon-not that such a prodigy is to be eaten by any means, but to show what the “vast sea’s entrál” can produce on occasion.
[John Henry Newman]. Loss and Gain. London: James Burns, 1848.
This is a first edition of the novel, Loss and Gain, the story of an Oxford student’s conversion from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism. It was published anonymously by John Henry Newman following his own conversion to the Catholic faith. This volume belonged to Francis Turner Palgrave, British critic, anthologist, and poet, with his inscription on the title-page: "F. T. Palgrave/ Mar: 21: 1848/ Oxford." It is from the library of Geoffrey and Kathleen Tillotson with a signature by British literary scholar Geoffrey Tillotson, "Tillotson/ 1951," in pencil on a front free endpaper.
The volume also contains marginalia in an unidentified hand.
Laid in the book is a postcard photograph of Newman, from a drawing by George Richmond, with birthday greetings to Geoffrey Tillotson.
Hannah More. The Complete Works of Hannah More. Volume 2. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835.
This is the first American edition of a two-volume anthology of the works of British religious playwright, poet, novelist, and philanthropist Hannah More. The second volume includes the novel Coelebs in Search of a Wife, a popular religious novel published in 1808.
- Exhibition Text by Sarah Tharpe