Apr 30 2010
Edwards tries to negotiate the tension between secularization and what he felt was a need for spiritual renewal and reorientation. Even though he remains deeply indebted to the principles of Puritan belief, his thinking is also influenced by the new philosophy of Locke, Berkeley and others. As he once wrote, “to find out the reasons of things in natural philosophy is only to find out the proportions of God’s acting” a remark that indicates his attempt to reconcile philosophy and religion.
In contrast to Edwards’s intense negotiations of spiritual questions in face of the new concepts of the mind emergig during his time, the diary of ‘Madame Knight’ offers another view on 18th-century American life and reality. I would encourage you to read through the excerpts and briefly discuss the following points:
- how would you describe Kemble’s attitude towards questions of religion and morals – do you find instances in the text that would support your assessment?
- if Kemble takes great care to draw a truthful image of the events and situations she encountered during her journey she also tells us a lot about herself, and even includes some poetry of her own. Please discuss what this might mean for an understanding of the writer herself and especially of her state of mind.
- Briefly comment on Kemble’s remarks concerning the relation between her contemporaries and the native population, give examples.
Here is the text with excerpts from Kemble’s diary: Diary_Kemble
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Enjoy your reading!