The Limits of Orthodoxy in a Secular Age : The Strange Case of Marie Corelli

Knight, Mark James (2018) The Limits of Orthodoxy in a Secular Age : The Strange Case of Marie Corelli. Nineteenth-Century Literature, 73 (3). 379–398.

[thumbnail of Mark Knight article on Corelli June 2018]
PDF (Mark Knight article on Corelli June 2018)
Mark_Knight_article_on_Corelli_June_2018.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (171kB)


This essay explores the eclectic spirituality of the late-nineteenth-writer Marie Corelli, with specific reference to her fiction. I look to her first novel, A Romance of Two Worlds (1886), as a case study with which to explore the relationship between Christian orthodoxy and heterodoxy in a secular age. In doing so, I draw on recent theoretical contributions to our understanding of the sacred and the secular in the late nineteenth century, and I question the tendency of many critics to presume that Corelli’s interest in spirituality has little or nothing to do with Christianity. Corelli wrote that her “creed has its foundation in Christ alone,” and although there are good reasons for investigating that claim more closely, these investigations do not have to result in a secular reading and/or an interpretation that breaks from Christianity. By situating Corelli’s fiction within the Christian tradition, I show how she helps us rethink the way in which we draw and redraw the boundaries of religious belief at the fin de siècle.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nineteenth-Century Literature
Additional Information:
Published as The Limits of Orthodoxy in a Secular Age: The Strange Case of Marie Corelli Mark Knight Nineteenth Century Literature Dec 2018, Vol. 73, No. 1: 379-398. © 2018 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [Caliber (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? marie corellia romance of two worldschristian orthodoxysecular and postsecularnew religious movements at the fin de siecleliterature and literary theory ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 Jun 2018 14:16
Last Modified:
25 Nov 2023 00:23