Sermons in novels? Best ones?

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It's been a long time since I've read them, but I think the novels of Lloyd C Douglas have sermons.

In one chapter of John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar, a bishop is dosed with a topically absorbed drug called "Truth or Consequences" and ends up delivering an increasingly unorthodox sermon that concludes, "Why don't I shut up and stop stuffing your ears with nonsense when you ought to be stuffing some other organ entirely?"

Also, Reverend Dupas of the First Existential Church in Jules Fieffer's Little Murders preaches that it's O.K. for Carol to give him a $250.00 bribe to mention the deity in her wedding sermon and also O.K. for him to take the bribe but fail to do so because "Betrayal, too, is all right. It is part of what we all are."

Maybe I should not make suggestions after all.

Do you want actual quoted text? Surely in Middlemarch ... I don't know ... it is a muddy recollection of a very large book. Would Collins sermonizing to Elizabeth in P&P count? I don't believe there are actual texts of sermons in Mansfield Park or Persuasion, but something is niggling at me there.

Or perhaps you mean sermons *about* novels, which are a very different matter:

“Beside the beautiful productions of that incomparable pen [that of Richardson], there seem to me to be very few, in the style of Novel, that you can read with advantage. – What shall we say of certain books, which we are assured (for we have not read them) are in their nature so shameful, in their tendency so pestiferous, and contain such rank treason against the royalty of Virtue, such horrible violation of all decorum, that she who can bear to peruse them must in her soul be a prostitute, let her reputation in life be what it will. But can it be true – say, ye chaste stars, that with innumerable eyes inspect the midnight behaviour of mortals – can it be true, that any young woman, pretending to decency, should endure for a moment to look on this infernal brood of futility and lewdness?”

This is going to take some digging as it is a pamphlet printed around 1800, but I think it is in the Early American Imprints database if you have access. Stephen Burroughs's sermon, delivered in Rutland, on a hay mow.

When Elizabeth turns down Darcy's proposal in P&P the first time I tend to think of her comments to him as sermon-like.


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