Writing out of Orthodoxy: Lily Dougall, Anglican Modernist, 1858-1923

Type of resource
Writing out of Orthodoxy: Lily Dougall, Anglican Modernist, 1858-1923
The Montreal-born Lily Dougall (1858-1923), novelist and religious essayist, was the daughter of John Dougall, editor of the evangelical Montreal Witness newspaper, and Elizabeth Redpath. The author charts Lily Dougall's intellectual development from her evangelical youth in Montreal and New York to her prominence as a religious speaker and writer with the Anglican Modernist movement in Oxford, England. She investigates the gendered cultural context within which Lily Dougall's experiential faith developed. Lily Dougall was known in Britain for her eleven thought-provoking novels, such as 'Beggars All' (1891), when she published anonymously, and her religious essays, such as the controversial lyrical 'Pro Christo et Ecclesia' (1900). Between 1900 and 1923 she wrote and edited a series of widely read works of modern theology, and became a popular modernist speaker, an advocate of spiritual healing through the Guild of Health, and a mentor to the Student Christian Movement and the Anglican Fellowship. With Canon B. H. Streeter, Lily Dougall created the Cumnor Group, an influential discussion group dedicated to liberal theology. As a religious modernist, Lily Dougall advocated free intellectual inquiry and rejected the traditional authorities of creed, doctrine and the Bible. She did not find miracles, even the miracles of the virgin birth and physical resurrection of Christ, central to her faith. Instead, the author points out, Lily Dougall's theology was experiential, based on the personal experience of God. The author identifies the origins of this liberal and experiential faith in the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Thomas Carlyle, F. D. Maurice, and American holiness theologian Thomas Upham, and describes the evolution of Lily Dougall's religious thought through evangelicalism, the Anglican Broad Church, Christian socialism, personal idealism, modernism and Christian fellowship. The author analyzes the gendered nature of Edwardian liberal spirituality, which shaped, and sometimes silenced, women's theological expression, and discusses Lilly Dougall's difficulties entering and working within the masculine world of theology. Finally, the author examines the links between Edwardian experiential faith and the development of feminist theology, the modern study of mysticism, and the early science of psychology.
PhD dissertation
Carleton University
Ottawa, ON
Dean, Joanna Elizabeth. “Writing out of Orthodoxy: Lily Dougall, Anglican Modernist, 1858-1923.” PhD dissertation, Carleton University, 1999. http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk1/tape9/PQDD_0019/NQ57600.pdf.
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