Because Victorian authors rarely discuss conversion experiences
separately from the modes in which they are narrated, Emily Walker
Heady argues that the conversion narrative became, in effect, a
form of literary criticism. Literary conventions, in turn, served
the reciprocal function as a means of discussing the nature of what
Heady calls the 'heart-change.' Heady reads canonical authors such
as John Henry Newman, Charles Dickens, Charlotte BrontA", George
Eliot, and Oscar Wilde through a dual lens of literary history and
post-liberal theology. As Heady shows, these authors question the
ability of realism to contain the emotionally freighted and often
jarring plot lines that characterize conversion. In so doing, they
explore the limits of narrative form while also shedding light on
the ways in which conversion narratives address and often disrupt
the reading communities in which they occur.
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Emily Walker Heady
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