Religious faith, myths and legends have always been present in literature. However, their role has changed over time. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, with the diminishing role of religion in European society, writers with some kind of belief system, whether religious or polilical, have tended to use myth in two different ways. They have either retold the old, familiar myths of the past so that they carry fresh messages relevant to a contemporary audience or created their own, new myths as modem vehicles of traditional truths. Many writers have combined the two techniques.
Such us the transforming artistry which the eighteen essays in Re-Embroidering the Robe examine : the remaking or new -minting of myth, in literature from 1850 the present day, so that what it embodies and expresses speaks powerfully to the modem reader. In widely differing ways, therefore, all of the texts analysed here compel attention.
Suzanne Bray is Professor of English Studies at Lille Catholic University in France. She specialises in the areas of history of ideas and literature and theology, mainly in Britain during the 20th century. Her PhD examined the success of four Christian authors (G. K. Chesterton, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers) during the period 1900 to 1963. She publishes in both French and EngIish and her latest book, C. S. Lewis : la vocation d’un best-seller, was published by Imago in October 2007.
Adrienne E. Gavin is a Reader in English Literature at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, where she specializes in Victorian Literature, Children’s Literature, and Crime Fiction. She is author of Dark Horse : A Life of Anne Sewell (2004) and co-editor of Mystery in Children Literature : From the Rational to the Supernatural (2001) and the forthcoming Childhood in Edwardian Fiction : Worlds Enough and Time.
Peter Merchant gained his doctorate at Cambridge University and has worked since 1983 at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, where he is Subject Leader for English. A Victorian specialist, he is the editor of three Wordsworth Classics (A Tale of Two Cities, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and The Way We Live Now) and has contributed essays to journals including The Dickensian, Dickens Quarterly, Victorian Poetry, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and Recusant History.
BRAY Suzanne, GAVIN Adrienne E., MERCHANT Peter, Re-Embroidering the Robe, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008 – ISBN : 978-1847186089