W. T. Stead: Nonconformist and Newspaper Prophet

ISBN : 9780198832539

Stewart J. Brown
256 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Sep 2019
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W. T. Stead (1849-1912) was a newspaper editor, author, social reformer, advocate for women rights, peace campaigner, spiritualist, and one of the best-known public figures in the late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. W. T. Stead: Nonconformist and Newspaper Prophet provides a compelling religious biography of Stead, offering particular attention to his conception of journalism-in an age of growing mass literacy-as a means to communicate religious truth and morality, and his view of the editor's desk as a modern pulpit. Leading scholar, Stewart J. Brown explores how his Nonconformist Conscience and sense of divine calling infused Stead's newspaper crusades-most famously his 'Maiden Tribute' campaign against child prostitution.
The biography also examines Stead's growing interest in spiritualism and the occult, as he searched for the evidence of an afterlife that might draw people in a more secular age back to faith. It discusses his imperialism and his belief in the English-speaking peoples of the British Empire and American Republic as God's new chosen people for the spread of civilisation; and it highlights how his growing understanding of other faiths and cultures-but more especially his moral revulsion over the South African War of 1899-1902-brought him to question those beliefs. Finally, it assesses the influence of religious faith on his campaigns for world peace and the arbitration of international disputes.


1 A Voice of the Nonconformist Conscience, 1849-1880
2 To Be a Christ: Striving for Righteousness at the Pall Mall Gazette, 1880-1888
3 The City of God and the Civic Church, 1888-1894
4 Spiritualism and the Other World, 1880-1912
5 The Great Pacifist, 1894-1912
Select Bibliography

About the author: 

Stewart J. Brown is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Edinburgh. He has lectured widely in Europe, China, Australia, India, and the USA, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He served as co-editor of the Scottish Historical Review from 1993 to 1999. His publications include The Oxford Handbook of the Oxford Movement (2017), The Oxford Movement: Europe and the Wider World 1830-1930 (2014), and The National Churches of England, Ireland, and Scotland 1801-46 (2001).

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