The New Republic; or Culture, Faith, and Philosophy in an English Country House.
This piece was first published in the magazine Belgravia without the attributed author in 1876. It was published the next year, still without an author, in a two volume bound edition. The character “Mr. Luke” is described in this roman-a-clef as “a great critic and apostle of culture,” and is based on Matthew Arnold (24). Ruskin and Pater are some other thinly disguised characters. When the main character, Mr. Laurence, is observing the guests before the dinner proper begins, he says of Mr. Luke/Arnold that he is a "supercilious-looking man, talking rather loudly and rather slowly to [my aunt] about the dust in London" (24).
Mr. Laurence has established a menu for his dinner party conversation, to proceed in the following order: "The Aim of Life"; "Town and Country"; "Society"; "Art and Literature"; "Love and Money"; "Riches and Civilisation"; "The Present"; "The Future". When Mr. Luke comes to the first topic of conversation, "The Aim of Life," he "was heard in a loudish voice saying that his own favorite Muse had always been Erato" (30). As the conversation continues concerning the aim of life, after raking Christianity through the mud as a helpful aid to life and after Mr. Rose/Ruskin has waxed eloquent on home decorating as life's aim, Mr. Luke addresses the role that Culture and Christianity play in providing an aim in life.
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