Jun 07 2010

Enlightenment to Romanticism 5

Published by Peter Schneck

As I promised some time ago, here is a new set of questions in regard to the ‘literature of public documents’, as described in Robert Ferguson’s book on the American Enlightenment, and the role of Benjamin Franklin as an example of the ‘new’ individual negotiating a public ’sphere’ created by new forms of writing.
Actually, Ferguson insists that there is a tradition of documents that goes back ot older ‘constitutions’ and compacts’ – do you know what he is refering to, and why? This comes at the beginning of his text when he talks about the difference between American constitutionalism and its English counterpart. Even without knowing too much about constitutionalism, you may be able to get some sense out of his argument in what way Americans were more drawn to the written word – how so?

manuscript page with Franklin's plan for the day

manuscript page with Franklin's plan for the day

Franklin’s autobiography is a case in point – would you agree? In what way does his attempt at ‘reliving’ his life in the form of writing attest to the trust in writign that Ferguson talks about? Please try to remember what we talked about when we discussed Franklin’s assessment about the permanence or endurance of the written memory against the natural ‘life span’ of remembering.
And lastly, you may also comment on Franklin’s famous experiment to arrive at the moral perfection of character. Please discuss what he tried to do and why, and especially try to comment in what way his idea could be related to earlier puritan modes of self-inspection and in what way he is departing from, say, Samual Sewall’s writing in the latter’s diary.

So much for now, more coming up!
Good luck!!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Enlightenment to Romanticism 5”

  1. B. Meinerton 08 Jun 2010 at 11:20

    Hey there.
    I just want to ask: when do you need the answers the latest? That would be good to know ;)
    B. Meinert

  2. Peter Schneckon 08 Jun 2010 at 12:17

    Well, it would be a bit tough to do them for tomorrow’s session, wouldn’t it – so you will have to hand it in until Monday next week.


  3. Wlady R.on 12 Jun 2010 at 21:21


    I just wanted to ask till when we should have Task 6 done for? In the course I thought you mentioned that we have time till the next session, till Wednesday.

    Sadly I can’t post there since the comments are disabled.
    So I hope it’s ok if I do that here instead.


Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.