Apr 30 2010

Enlightenment to Romanticism 3

Published by Peter Schneck

With Jonathan Edwards and Sarah Kemble Knight we introduced two rather different contemporaries from 18th-century America.

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

You can enter your observations below or attach them to your mail.

Enjoy your reading!

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Enlightenment to Romanticism 3”

  1. Isabelon 30 Apr 2010 at 17:32

    Are there any special excerpts you recommend reading? Because the ebook I found is about 60 pages…
    here it is:
    http://books.google.de/books?id=rmzi3tSDuh4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=the diary of ‘Madame Knight’&source=bl&ots=u2M9-Dy2sY&sig=rvCpD3jw2Q0ocn_pGvBDymktcEg&hl=de&ei=yfPaS8z8DaWgOKW8yPUP&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  2. Wlady R.on 01 May 2010 at 12:31

    Hello.

    I know it’s a daft question but is this one of the take home exams or is it simply a practice task?

    Thanks.

  3. Peter Schneckon 01 May 2010 at 13:02

    @Isabel: See link above – forgot to put it in, thanks for the reminder, and also thanks for the link to the full text!

    @Wlady: It’s not a daft question at all: You may hand in your answers in partial fulfilment of the required three (M.A.: four!) take home exams. Your decision completely – you may of course also use it as a training session. If you want this counted as a take home, please hand it in before next class. Thanks!

  4. Isabelon 02 May 2010 at 16:39

    Hello again :)
    Just one quick issue… do the so-called bumpkins count as the native population?
    Thanks

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