The influence of Christianity

The language of church

King James BibleWhether deeply religious or not, Dickens would have been strongly influenced by the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Hearing readings and sermons week by week in church, he would have absorbed the language and rhythms of the Bible. He later said that his literary style came straight from the Book of Common Prayer, and in his fiction there are many echoes and direct references to this and to the Bible.

The centrality of Christian observance

Outward signs of religion were more obvious in Dickens' time than today. Churches were built in the new industrial cities and about half the population attended regularly. In villages and older towns and cities, parishes continued to be centres of the life of the community, as they had been for centuries. Moreover, even those who were not Christians or did not hold traditional beliefs would have recognized the Christian origins of the moral and ethical standards of the day.

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