Journal Article

‘In the Quicksands of Disintegrating Faiths’: Dorothy Richardson and the Quakers

Howard Finn

in Literature and Theology

Volume 19, issue 1, pages 34-46
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/19.1.34
‘In the Quicksands of Disintegrating Faiths’: Dorothy Richardson and the Quakers

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Quaker theology and practice appealed to artists, socialists, feminists and progressive thinkers in the period 1890–1914. The Quaker revival had an influence on the literary milieu in London from which modernism would emerge. Dorothy Richardson, after living in a Friends community, conceived and began to write the series of modernist novels under the collective title of Pilgrimage in 1912–15, at the same time as she wrote and published two books on the Quakers. The relationship between the writing of the novel and the simultaneous writing about the Quakers shows how Quaker ideas and practice provided a model for the independent woman writer and a framework for the reconciliation of individualism (derived from Nietzsche and Stirner) with collectivism (derived from Fabian socialism), a glimpsed reconciliation that would be broken, not least in modernist circles, by the First World War.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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