Dying to prove themselves

June 8, 2017

An excerpt from an OUPblog article written by OSEO editorial board member, Lesley Higgins:

Image Credit: ‘Sarah Jacob’ from, Public Domain via Wikipedia.
"'The Wonder', the latest work of Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue to light up the fiction best sellers’ list (Donoghue’s prize-winning 2010 novel 'Room' was the basis for the 2015 Academy-Award winning film), draws upon a very real, very disturbing Victorian phenomenon: the young women and men—but mostly pubescent females—who starved themselves to death to prove some kind of divine or spiritual presence in their lives. One person quite prepared to believe in the truth of a “fasting girl” was the English poet and Jesuit priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Hopkins was introduced to the religious efficacy of closely restricting or refusing beverages and food in the writings of Reverend Edward Pusey and John Henry Newman, who, as Anglican members of the “Oxford Movement” (or Tractarians), published tracts advocating the benefits of physical mortification

Read the rest of this article on the OUPblog >

Image Credit: ‘Sarah Jacob’ from, Public Domain via Wikipedia.

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