By Paul Cefalu
Paul Cefalu's learn explores the connection among ethical personality and non secular conversion within the poetry and prose of Sidney, Spenser, Donne, Herbert, and Milton, in addition to in early smooth English Conformist and Puritan sermons, theological tracts, and philosophical treatises. Cefalu argues that early glossy Protestant theologians have been frequently not able to include a coherent conception of useful morality into the order of salvation. Cefalu attracts on clean historicist theories of ideology and subversion, yet takes factor with historicist tendency to conflate prevalent and express differences between texts. He argues that inventive literature, by means of advantage of its tendency to put characters in nearly actual moral quandaries, uniquely issues out the shortcoming of early sleek English Protestant theology to merge non secular conception and moral perform. This research may still allure not just to literary critics and historians, but in addition to students attracted to the heritage of ethical idea.
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Extra info for Moral Identity in Early Modern English Literature
O incomparable Pyrocles, more grieved wilt thou be with thy friend’s shame than with thine own imprisonment”; he thus overthrows the precepts of courtesy and yields to unregulated cruelty: “the forsaken knight [Musidorus], (having with the extremity of justly-conceived hate and the unpitifulness of his own near-threatening death, blotted out all compliments of courtesy) let fly at him so cruelly . ” (542–3). Later in the text, the narrator tells of Zelmane’s disgrace upon being transferred by Cecropia’s agents from his prison to Philoclea’s: “As for 22 Moral Identity in Early Modern English Literature Zelmane, as she went with her hands bound .
18 In order to see how this distinction between shame and guilt operates in the Arcadia we need first to assess the relationship between evaluative judgments and passions. Most conduct in the Arcadia derives from interlocking complexes of reasons, desires, and passions, rather than from contending faculties that divide the self. As such, most characters are represented, before their “falls,” as individuals who show a measure of internal coherence and unity. Pamela speaks like a philosopher of the passions when she justifies to Philoclea her desire for Musidorus: “You will say, but how know I him to be Musidorus, since the handmaid of wisdom is slow of belief?
578). The circuit of desire and belief is such that if desires initially contort beliefs, the same desires cannot, in turn, retain their affective pull unless they are eventually legitimated by those beliefs. If, under the sway of love, Pamela at first suspends consideration of Dorus’s character, over time her love for Dorus demands that she uncover the nature of Dorus’s true identity. Reason thus normally does not serve in the Arcadia as the seat of moral judgment that contends with the passions; reason more often presents itself in the form of evaluative beliefs that serve to arouse corresponding passions, most of which are considered wayward by Arcadian standards.
Moral Identity in Early Modern English Literature by Paul Cefalu