• F. Elizabeth GrayEmail author
Living reference work entry


Victorian devotional writing encompassed a very broad range of genres, promoting Christian thought and practice through verse, selected biblical readings with added explanations or “applications,” hortatory prose contemplations, and even (morally improving) fiction. Whatever the genre, the focus aimed inward. Devotional writing sought to encourage reflection on Christian faith, and faith’s role in life and in death; on the duties of the Christian; and on the model of Christ. While sectarian divides sharpened in the nineteenth century, devotion was signally unaligned with any one denomination. For the great majority of Victorians, devotional texts were a regular and constitutive part of daily experience, omnipresent in the form of hymns, poetry, religious fiction, nonfiction exhortations, and tracts. In its mediation between “high” and “low” cultural endeavor, and its positioning between the public realm and purely private undertakings, Victorian devotional activity was...


Devotional verse Hymn Reflection Application John Keble Christina Rossetti Anglo-Catholicism 
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Further Reading

  1. Blair, K., ed. 2004. John Keble in context. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gray, F.E. 2010. Christian and lyric tradition in Victorian women’s poetry. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Knight, M., and E. Watson. 2006. Nineteenth-century religion and literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Melynyk, J., ed. 1998. Women’s theology in nineteenth-century Britain: Transfiguring the faith of their fathers. New York/London: Garland.Google Scholar
  5. Palazzo, L. 2002. Christina Rossetti’s feminist theology. Basingstoke: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Tennyson, G.B. 1981. Victorian devotional poetry: The Tractarian mode. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada