Matthew Arnold cuts a familiar figure in narratives of Victorian secularization, although commentators often cast him in contradictory roles. In some accounts we meet him as an elegiac liberal who laments the loss of a no-longer-tenable faith but feels powerless to produce an alternative – “Wandering,” in a famous couplet, “between two worlds, one dead, / The other powerless to be born” (Arnold, “Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse” 85–86; see Miller 212–69). Meanwhile other studies portray Arnold as a cautionary example of aggressive counter-secularization, a humanist whose vaunted ideal of “Culture” becomes as absolutist as the religion it is designed to replace (Williams, Culture and Society 125–26). What both accounts share, however, is an understanding of secularization as the process whereby a definite thing called religion lost its hold upon European public life, leaving worried intellectuals to search for substitutes. Since the Second World War this view of secularization has come under increased scrutiny from sociologists, historians, anthropologists, and lately some literary critics; yet it remains difficult to imagine nineteenth-century literary history without it, largely because it is a narrative that was first developed by major Victorian writers like Arnold himself. Perhaps the best way, then, to engage Victorian crisis-of-faith writers is to follow the lead of recent commentators like Talal Asad and Michael Kaufmann and reframe the problem in discursive terms. Rather than retrace the rise and fall of two definite things called religion and secularity, Kaufmann argues, we should instead assume from the outset that “[t]here is no idea, person, experience, text, institution, or historical project that could be categorized as essentially . . . secular or religious” and mark how the significance of this opposition gets reordered in “varying discursive contexts” (Kaufmann 608; see Asad 25–26). We can see such thinking at work in recent scholarship that effectively replaces “secularization” with the conceptual emergence of religion as such – that is, the modern redescription of religion as a specific and limited sphere of human life, marked by certain energies (the irrational, the affective), whose role within the public is considered problematic. Anthropologist Timothy Fitzgerald, for instance, suggests that the Enlightenment turn toward regarding religion as the arena of strong personal belief was instrumental in establishing the space of the secular in the first place, insofar as it helped to define by contrast the new public sphere of “this-worldly . . . freedoms, laws, and markets” (Fitzgerald 5). Similarly, historian Callum Brown argues that late eighteenth-century Evangelicalism produced, as a sort of necessary pair, both the sociological idea of religion as an empirically discrete thing and our popular notion of religion as under threat or in decline (C. Brown 1–34).