"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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