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Written by the editors, this essay provides an Introduction to all three volumes of The Cambridge History of the Gothic. It proceeds by casting a self-reflexive glance at the notion of ‘history’ as it is represented in Gothic writing itself, arguing that, since its inception in the eighteenth century, Gothic has always occupied a fraught and complex position in relation to the practice of formal and official historiography. Second, it provides an overview of the volumes to follow, foregrounding the ways in which the essays brought together here, more than simply offering a rigorous ‘history’ of the Gothic, are preoccupied with the ways in which the Gothic has responded to, and been inscribed within, some of the determining historical events of Western civilisation, from the Sacking of Rome in AD 410 to the twenty-first century.
Burton highlights the complexity of Buddhist attitudes to religious experience, thus challenging a western overemphasis on the role of personal experience and subjective factors in Buddhist religious experience, to the neglect of such social factors as rituals and scriptural components. He considers whether the Buddhist doctrine of no enduring, unchanging self can be justified by introspective experience, and he observes that this is a matter of controversy among Buddhist scholars.
The potato’s political invisibility ended in the eighteenth century, when it attained unprecedented political prominence. The nourishing qualities that had once drawn criticism began to be viewed more positively. As a result, the potato became the object of intense scientific and political interest across Europe, as officials, local societies, agronomists, priests and many other organisations and individuals promoted potato consumption in word and deed. This extensive, pan-European potato investigation and propaganda resulted in the publication of hundreds of texts extolling the potato’s potential as a superior staple for working people, one whose greater consumption would help ensure the strength and success of the nation. Its popularity reflected the emergence of the new models of political economy and governance that stressed the importance of a healthy, well-nourished population to the power and wealth of the state. Integrating the slower history of the potato’s conquest of European dietaries, discussed in , with its frenetic promotion in the eighteenth century illuminates the central role that food came to play in modern models of statecraft.
Imagination is crucial in the Buddhist contemplative practices of Tibet. And yet the path to freedom in which they participate requires release from all imagining. This conundrum leads us to examine a sequence of practices from two of Tibet’s greatest poet-philosopher–practitioners, Longchen Rabjampa and Jigme Lingpa. In our reading, their instructions identify somatic, cognitive, creative, intentional, distracted, confused, or corrective states of imagination. Intentional imagining is an intentional method for resolving confused or distracted imagining. In detailing this we ask also how imagination differs from or overlaps with thought. We find that training in the intentional can elicit transmodal perception of reminiscence of what we knew as infants, suggesting that the imagination helps take us deep into body-mind memory. Finally, and especially significant for insights into the deep structure of perception, we note Dzogchen’s appreciation of the imagination’s capacity for dissolving itself, into a particularly expansive dimension of human experience.
Chapter 12 includes the deeper normative arguments of Burke’s economic theory that come alive in the Reflections. Burke argued that among the real rights of men were the right to industry and the right to acquisition. He further contended that abstract theory overlooked the complexity of circumstance in social life, and that rigid government edicts intended to establish equality in civil society bred social chaos. Social engineering crushed the human soul. More important, I discuss Burke’s emphasis on the limits of transactional exchange in sustaining the growth of civilization. In his view, contracts could produce commercial opulence, but civilizations required pre-transactional bonds of religion, friendship, and manners in order to endure. Man’s moral obligations thus preceded the requirements of voluntary contracts; civilization might persist without commercial vitality, but it could not survive without virtue and chivalry. I also examine Burke’s commentary in Third Letter on a Regicide Peace, in which he provides remarks on the healthy state of the English economy, an Invisible Hand-type phenomenon, and the virtues of limited government, all of which complement his thoughts in Thoughts and Details and the Reflections.
This chapter illuminates the role of science in colonial expansion since the time of the Enlightenment, as well as the varied forms of contestation, creative appropriation, and counter-science among the colonized.
This article explores the ways in which Little Gidding and its inhabitants – including the leader of that pious seventeenth-century household, Nicholas Ferrar – were remembered in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The memory of Little Gidding was shaped, in part, by a passage in Richard Gough’s British Topography, in which Gough dismissed Nicholas Ferrar as a ‘useless enthusiast’. Gough’s attack was answered by the liberal churchman Peter Peckard, who defended the reputation of his wife’s ancestor in his Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Nicholas Ferrar. And yet Peckard’s response to the Ferrars of Little Gidding was not entirely approving: while Peckard celebrated their piety and benevolence, he also worried over their ‘ceremonials’ and their ‘austerities’. This article presents a reading of the Memoirs, as well as a study of the relationship between Peckard’s text and other contemporary sources, in order to shed light on the complex nature of Peckard’s liberal Anglicanism.
This article was initially published in the August 2017 issue of the journal Theology and Science under the above title and subtitle. It was commissioned by Ted Peters, Research Professor Emeritus in Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Theory and the Natural Sciences. Even though Ted and I disagree on a great many things, we share a love and respect for science, for the question of extraterrestrial intelligence and for what such a discovery would mean to humanity in general and religion in particular. When Ted invited me to make the best case I could for a scientific defense of objective values and morals, I could not resist the challenge. My 2015 book The Moral Arc is a much longer and thorough defense of this worldview – especially my claim that science and reason can determine moral values – but herein I offer some new strategies for addressing the Is-Ought barrier problem to avoid the naturalistic fallacy that one cannot derive an ought from an is. And I relished the challenge of doing so in a more succinct statement.
The widespread Jewish sympathies for Lessing’s pre-Hegelian, pro-Jewish, progressive Deism from the Education of the Human Race spurred some Jewish authors to return to and discuss Lessing’s religious thought within the theological endeavors of the Wissenschaft des Judentums in nineteenth-century Germany. To be able to rely on Lessing, even retroactively, was welcome proof for Jewish Reformers that the humanistic approach to religious problems that stood at the very center of their project was at once Jewish and universal. It was the spirit of Lessing’s Education that was appropriated here for Judaism rather than Lessing’s letter. With Lessing in the camp of Reform Judaism the intended modernization of Judaism was safeguarded against the accusation of political and social egoism on the part of the Jews. It was the universal idea of religious progress that they shared with Lessing, not just the sloughing off of the yoke of outdated talmudic law.
The practice of criminal justice in western and central Europe was more violent between 1400 and 1600 than before or afterwards, but sensational propaganda produced during this period exaggerates the prevalence of torture and execution. Many criminals evaded justice altogether and most defendants who were caught and brought to trial were subject to quick and relatively merciful justice. Fines, short prison sentences and banishment were far more commonplace than brutally painful execution rituals. As early as the seventeenth century, the practice of both torture and execution declined, the result of changes in Christianity, the growing confidence of secular states, and concerns that inflicting pain was inherently abusive. Enlightenment authors such as Voltaire and Beccaria, who insisted on judicial reform in the late eighteenth century, grossly distorted the actual practice of criminal justice in their own era in ways that have allowed historians to assume that criminal justice in the pre-modern period was more violent than it actually was.
Prince Charles Antoine de Ligne, son of Prince Charles Joseph de Ligne, died fighting French revolutionary forces at Croix-au-Bois in the Argonne region on 14 September 1792. He left behind a last will and testament (a copy is held in the Kriegsarchiv in Vienna) that evoked the memory of his small circle of aristocratic Viennese friends called “les Indissolubles.” Each member received a personal legacy, and Charles directed that a “temple of friendship” be established in his rooms at Beloeil featuring portraits of group members and a bust of himself. This poignant document, in combination with Charles's correspondence with close friend and group member Prince Joseph Poniatowski (preserved in the Polish Academy library in Cracow), confirms in striking manner the group's affinity for two popular European trends: Anglophilia and sensibility. Although Charles's will was not published at the time of his death he could assume that, as with any final testament, his statements would become known to, and honored by, a limited “public” of their own.
Throughout the Banims’ fiction, violence is presented as forcing a strange unity, a troubled merging of identities. If the Act of Union is a rough stitching together of nations, it is precisely with this uneven stitchwork that the Banims concern themselves, giving voice to a fragile post-Union Irish identity. Those elements of the Banims’ work that have confounded critics or irritated readers – the multiple voices, the shifting discourses, the bewildering degree of detail – might be understood as what Slavoj Žižek calls the truthfulness of their rendering of violence, truthful in their ability to induct readers into alternative ways of seeing or knowing. Violence is present not simply at the level of content but in the narrative form, pocked and scored by the collision of English and Irish languages, and the clash between written and oral cultures. Characters lacking any stable sense of self inhabit tales without clear purpose or form, but that weakness is also their strength. The problem of violence is translated into possibility, as these texts break with conventional ideas about self and word, identity and language.
This chapter examines the relationship between constructions of childhood and the development of narrative fiction in Ireland in the period after the Williamite settlement. By highlighting the figure of the child as a central preoccupation of this period, I propose a fresh consideration of religious controversy, the response to Enlightenment ideas, and the development of narrative fiction in Ireland in this period. The desire to create a new and improved Ireland was at one and the same time an aspect of English colonial ideology with a long and sometimes violent history, but also an optimistic and progressive vision which drew on the radical philosophies of Locke and others. Literacy and print culture were increasingly seen as pivotal to the spread of enlightenment and the improvement of both the individual and society, but anxiety as to the loyalty of Catholics also generated ambivalence about the benefits of widespread literacy. In this essay I will argue that a significant strand of early Irish fiction emerges from a distinctive preoccupation with questions of individual and societal formation and reformation, and that there are close links between early Irish fictions and discourses of religious reform, pedagogy, and social and economic improvement.
The Molyneux problem is a question about the nature of sensory perception that was first posed by William Molyneux, the founder of the Dublin Philosophical Society, in correspondence with the English philosopher John Locke in 1688. The problem asks whether a blind man who has learned to distinguish between different shapes by his sense of touch alone would be able, upon having his vision restored, to make the same distinctions using only his sense of sight. Molyneux’s question has been called the most important problem in the history of Irish philosophy, and the reason for its significance is the wide variety of epistemological, theological, linguistic, and aesthetic considerations to which it gave rise. This chapter identifies and documents the major stages in the early development of Molyneux’s problem in eighteenth-century Ireland, England, and France. Along the way, the chapter draws on contemporary religious analogies, surgical evidence, and fictional experiments in order to bring a new perspective to current debates about the meaning of ‘Enlightenment’ in eighteenth-century Irish intellectual culture.
Emerging from four nations romantic scholarship and recent historical revisionism, this chapter challenges the negative view of the liminal period 1798–1800 as a dark and silent moment, following the collapse of United Irish republicanism and its associated publications. Pushing beyond 1798, public print and private correspondence discoveries in relation to key figures among elite and working-class circles alike yield evidence of continued collaboration towards the goal of a more high-brow, if less overtly political, northern periodical culture in Ireland. These circles contributed to several ‘enlightened’ periodicals like the Belfast Monthly Magazine (1808–14) and the Belfast Literary Journal (1815), which enabled a productive collision of politically radical writers like James Orr, Dr William Drennan, and Samuel Thomson with the ascendancy of conservatives, particularly the coterie poets of Bishop Thomas Percy. This chapter focuses on a key study of a short-lived Belfast periodical, The Microscope and Minute Observer (1799–1800), a unique publication that represents the convergence of Enlightenment, antiquarian, and romantic literary energies at a pivotal point of historical flux.
This chapter argues that ‘prejudice’ was both the enemy and alter-ego of enlightenment in Ireland. While many enlightened figures choose to condemn prejudice as an irrational and malign force, others would query both the possibility and desirability of a world without prejudice. Indeed, the war against prejudice, it was argued, bred a bigotry of its own. The chapter shows how the question of prejudice had a key bearing on debates about reason, religious toleration, and economic improvement in eighteenth-century Ireland.
Lady Morgan’s celebrity has come to be defined by her aptitude for self-fashioning, as she embodied her fictional heroine Glorvina for an enraptured English readership. Morgan’s self-conscious representation of herself in her Memoirs (1862) as ‘the poor butt that reviewers, editors and critics have set up’ suggests an equally acute awareness of her literary reception and legacy. Taking these notions of literary celebrity and self-fashioning as its starting point, this chapter focuses on Morgan’s national tales, arguing that her writing provides a self-conscious account of the cultural circulation of Irish identity. Morgan’s layering of multiple genres and discourses in her national tales indicates a writer deeply engaged with processes of both cultural and literary transition and the chapter suggests that this engagement is best understood through Morgan’s fictional appraisal of Enlightenment philosophical constructions of history and nation. In their alertness to the politics of sympathy and the performance of national suffering, the novels construct Ireland as a site of multiple and competing modes of perception and representation. In doing so, they reveal Morgan as a self-conscious reviser of form who both registers and shapes the dynamic literary transitions taking place during the romantic period.
The Byzantine interpretative framework through which Homeric and Homerizing literature was approached in the Middle Ages survived in the Greek world until its last vestiges were cast away in the early nineteenth century with the creation of an independent Greek state and the establishment of a national educational curriculum modeled after the Bavarian one. The reception of Homer in Greece and the Balkans during the nineteenth century was shaped by the key position of epic poetry in the development of romantic nationalism. Nineteenth-century Greek poets writing about the military struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire cast prominent figures as successors to the Homeric heroes. This conception of the past generated a desire to translate Homer into Balkan languages and translations of Homer’s epics into Ottoman Turkish, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Serbian were made by non-Greek graduates of Greek schools. Although the translators of Homer in the Balkans and in the Middle East had different motivations, their works collectively indicate a desire to become directly acquainted with literary works considered foundational to Western European modernity.
This chapter examines the reception of Augustine’s “Confessions” in the Enlightenment through three major lexicographical works: Pierre Bayle’s Historical and Critical Dictionary; Chevalier de Jaucourt’s entry in the Encyclopédie, “Church Fathers”; and Voltaire’s Questions on the Encyclopedia. All of them deliberately misappropriate Augustine's account of his life as a sinner in order to undermine aspects of his theology, and, by extension, the theology of Jansenism in their own era.
This chapter traces the long history of the church in Wales. From the time of the so-called Celtic Church, it discusses the Age of the Saints and the distinctive character of Welsh Christianity, which predates that of English Christianity after the arrival of Augustine at Canterbury in 597. The Normans instituted a more formal diocesan structure which developed over the medieval period resulting in absorption of the Welsh dioceses into the Province of Canterbury. The Reformation saw the establishment of the Church of England in Wales and such developments as the translation of the Bible into Welsh. The Restoration affected the church in subtle ways after which followed a revival of Christianity and the rise of dissenting denominations eventually leading, in the Victorian age, to calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales.