LINDSBORG, KAN., January 16, 2012—In the centenary celebration year of the 19th century writer Charles Dickens, Bethany College Professor of English Linda Lewis publishes her fourth book, Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader. Lewis contends that of the fifteen novels Dickens published in his lifetime (1812 to 1870), nine of them discuss social and moral issues through Christian parable and allegory.
“Dickens’ novels provide banquets of humor and horror, the melodramatic and the macabre, but he also offered his readers hefty servings of morality—much of it based on New Testament texts,” says Lewis.
Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader, published by the University of Missouri, explores these Biblical influences. For example, Lewis interprets Oliver Twist, a story depicting the harsh lives of those living in Victorian-era poverty, as a blend of the Biblical teaching of the Good Samaritan and John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress.
While some recent publications challenge the sincerity of Dickens’ religious beliefs, Lewis’ work demonstrates that Dickens’ genuine intent was to influence the faith and morality of his “dear readers.”
Lewis has taught at Bethany College since 1987, where she currently teaches British literature, composition and linguistics. She received her doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her master’s from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and her bachelor’s from East Central State, Okla.
Lewis has written numerous papers and has been invited to present her work for the New York Browning Society, Swedish Writers Union, and Oxford Round Table. She has published other books including, The Promethean Politics of Milton, Blake, and Shelley; Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Spiritual Progress; and Germaine de Stael, George Sand, and the Victorian Woman Artist.
Lewis serves on the Bethany Faculty Senate, is the faculty coordinator for the Pearson Distinguished Professor of Swedish Studies, and is the Margaret H. Mountcastle Distinguished Professor of Humanities. She also sponsors the student organizations Gold Key (women’s honorary society) and Lamba Iota Tau (honor society in literature).
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu/.
Caption: Linda Lewis