Studies in American Naturalism
Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896) is a terrific novel. The title character is a young, naïve, poorly educated Methodist minister who — when the narrative begins — has been appointed to take the pastorate of a small-town church in upstate New York. It is within only a matter of weeks after moving to Octavius with his wife, Alice, that Theron makes the acquaintance of exotic and compelling individuals who challenge his heretofore unexamined evangelical faith. Abandoning his Methodism with impunity, Ware is soon hurtling toward his “damnation.”
Damned but not dead: At the end of the novel, Theron and Alice are heading out to Seattle, where the feckless ex-minister will superintend a real estate company while considering the possibility of embarking on a career in politics.
Copyright © 2014, Studies in American Naturalism
University of Nebraska Press
Trollinger, William Vance, "Review: 'Harold Frederic’s Social Drama and the Crisis of 1890s Evangelical Protestant Culture'" (2014). History Faculty Publications. 41.