Marion Müller:
"These savage beasts become domestick" - The discourse on the passions
in early modern England


The aim of this book is to examine the perception of the passions in non-fictional, early mod­ern English texts. Its corpus is divided into two main groups: rhetorical text­books and tracts and treatises about the passions. The book shows that in six­teenth-century rhet­orics there was an emerging awareness of the passions not only as literary tools but also as extra-literary phenomena existing in the world beyond the page. In the seven­teenth century the passions achieved a growing emancipation from rhetoric and were viewed as objects of study in their own right. Through the anal­ysis of texts by Thomas Wright, Benet of Canfield, Jean François Senault, Edward Rey­nolds and Walter Charleton, the thesis demonstrates that, despite the writers’ aware­ness that the pas­sions account for unsettling ambiguities in the human person, they all exhibit a readi­ness to find value, or potential value in the passions. More­over, an exploration of the marriage between faith and reason offers an explan­ation as to why this might be so. For the book claims that a passion – amor Dei – is the alpha and omega of „emo­tion­al intelli­gence.“ It shows that the desire to understand the passions is indissolubly linked with the quest for the self.      


ISBN 3-88476-532-9, 236 S., 8 Abb., kt., € 24,00 (2004)


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