Introduction
in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
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This chapter gives a detailed description of a paradox and a coincidence. The paradox is a period of profound secularisation in France, from which emerged a generation of Catholic writers and intellectuals who were convinced that the rumours about God's death had been greatly exaggerated. The coincidence is that, in the same period, English literature too saw a significant revival in Catholic writing. France's Catholic writers, their lives and works, are explored from a variety of perspectives. Though wide and intense critical attention focuses discretely on two contemporaneous literary tendencies, there are few comparative studies of them. The most ironic intellectual consequence of religious fragmentation and technological consciousness is the final emergence of relativism in the early twentieth century to answer the difficulties posed by the collision of differing worldviews. The chapter aims to place these writings back within the context of the conditions of belief and unbelief in which they were published.

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