Scepticism and Literature
An Essay on Pope, Hume, Sterne and Johnson
By (author) Fred Parker
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Scepticism and Literature by Fred Parker
Book Description'The more we enquire, the less we can resolve,' wrote Johnson. Scepticism-a reasoned emphasis on the severe limitations of rationality-would seem to undermine the grounds of belief and action. But in some of the best eighteenth-century literature, a theoretically paralysing critique of the pretensions of reason, precept, and language went hand in hand with a vigorous intellectual, moral, and linguistic confidence. To realise philosophical scepticism as literature was effectively to transform it. Dr Parker traces the presence of this life-giving irony in works by Pope, Hume, Sterne, and Johnson, relates it more broadly to the social self-consciousness of eighteenth-century culture, and discusses its source in Locke and its inspiration in Montaigne. The argument serves as a reminder that radical scepticism is not the invention of the late twentieth century, and that its strategies and implications have never been more interestingly explored than in the eighteenth.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199253180
(223mm x 144mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 2-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Fred Parker
Devil as Muse, Hardback (February 2011)» View all books by Fred Parker
Does the Devil lie at the heart of the creative process? This title offers a fresh reflection on the age-old question, echoing William Blake's famous statement: 'the true poet is of the Devil's party'. It examines three literary interpretations of the Devil and his influence upon the artist.
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Author Biography - Fred Parker
Fred Parker is a University Lecturer in English and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He is the author of Johnson's Shakespeare (OUP 1989 - paperback 1991).
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