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Description - The Power of the Passive Self in English Literature, 1640 -1770 by Scott Paul Gordon

Challenging recent work that contends that seventeenth-century English discourses privilege the notion of a self-enclosed, self-sufficient individual, The Power of the Passive Self in English Literature recovers a counter-tradition that imagines selves as more passively prompted than actively choosing. This tradition - which Scott Paul Gordon locates in seventeenth-century religious discourse, in early eighteenth-century moral philosophy, in mid eighteenth-century acting theory, and in the emergent novel - resists autonomy and defers agency from the individual to an external 'prompter'. Gordon argues that the trope of passivity aims to guarantee a disinterested self in a culture that was increasingly convinced that every deliberate action involves calculating one's own interest. Gordon traces the origins of such ideas from their roots in the non-conformist religious tradition to their flowering in one of the central texts of eighteenth-century literature, Samuel Richardson's Clarissa.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521021845
ISBN-10: 0521021847
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 292
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 3-Nov-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Scott Paul Gordon

Scott Paul Gordon is an Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. He has published numerous articles on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century subjects.

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