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Conscience in Early Modern English Literature


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108418737

£ 78.99

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About the Authors
  • Conscience in Early Modern English Literature describes how poetry, theology, and politics intersect in the early modern conscience. In the wake of the Reformation, theologians attempt to understand how the faculty works, poets attempt to capture the experience of being in its grip, and revolutionaries attempt to assert its authority for political action. The result, Abraham Stoll argues, is a dynamic scene of conscience in England, thick with the energies of salvation and subjectivity, and influential in the public sphere of Civil War politics. Stoll explores how Shakespeare, Spenser, Herbert, and Milton stage the inward experience of conscience. He links these poetic scenes to Luther, Calvin, and English Reformation theology. He also demonstrates how they shape the public discourses of conscience in such places as the toleration debates, among Levellers, and in the prose of Hobbes and Milton. In the literature of the early modern conscience, Protestant subjectivity evolves toward the political subject of modern liberalism.

    • Combines close literary interpretation with larger theological and political issues, providing a rare opportunity to see theology and politics engage in literary study rather than just as context for wider debates
    • Argues for conscience as an enthusiastic and antinomian force, offering vital progress on current critical understanding of conscience as a rational faculty in the service of casuistry
    • Tackles early modern subjectivity and the origins of modern liberalism in the Civil War, with the addition and exploration of conscience providing a more precise and particular approach to these vast topics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Illuminating in a number of specific ways, and well worth the reader's time for them … bright moments can be found throughout the book. I recommend it happily…' John E. Curran, Jr, Modern Philology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108418737
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: thus conscience
    1. Destructuring: Aquinas, Luther, Perkins
    2. Spenser's allegorical conscience
    3. Con-science in Macbeth
    4. Casuistry and antinomianism
    5. Public discourses: toleration, revolution, sovereignty
    6. Milton's expansive conscience

  • Author

    Abraham Stoll, University of San Diego
    Abraham Stoll is Professor of English at the University of San Diego. He is editing a new edition of Paradise Lost. He is author of Milton and Monotheism (2009) and has edited the five-volume edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (2006).

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