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Sacrifice and Modern War LiteratureThe Battle of Waterloo to the War on Terror$
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Alex Houen and Jan-Melissa Schramm

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198806516

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198806516.001.0001

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The Crimean War and (Self-)Sacrifice in Mid-Victorian Fiction

The Crimean War and (Self-)Sacrifice in Mid-Victorian Fiction

Chapter:
(p.34) 2 The Crimean War and (Self-)Sacrifice in Mid-Victorian Fiction
Source:
Sacrifice and Modern War Literature
Author(s):

Jan-Melissa Schramm

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198806516.003.0003

Charles Dickens was among those writers who responded to the tragic losses of the Crimean War with renewed attention to the cultural significance of sacrifice. He followed the war effort with care, protesting publicly about the bureaucratic bungling that had cost British lives in Sebastopol. His novels written immediately after the cessation of the war provide us with insight into the aesthetic uses of different models of sacrifice. In Little Dorrit (1856), Dickens explores the vocation of self-sacrifice popularized by feminine service in the war; in A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Dickens depends upon the dynamics of barbaric sacrifice to achieve closure as the Christlike Sidney Carton lays down his life for his brother man on the scaffold. This chapter draws upon the work of the theologians Nancy Jay and Yvonne Sherwood to probe the contradictions inherent in Victorian imaginings of sacrifice—both Protestant and Catholic, male and female.

Keywords:   Charles Dickens, Crimean War, martyrdom, Protestantism, Catholicism, theology, gender

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