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The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfillment in Early Modern England
     

The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfillment in Early Modern England

by Keith Thomas
 

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ISBN-10: 0199247234

ISBN-13: 9780199247233

Pub. Date: 05/15/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Hailed as "immediately and universally recognized as indispensable" (TLS) and "compellingly readable, richly researched, fascinatingly detailed, delightfully written" (LRB), here is a masterful exploration of the ways in which people sought to lead fulfilling lives, illuminating the central values of early modern England, while casting

Overview

Hailed as "immediately and universally recognized as indispensable" (TLS) and "compellingly readable, richly researched, fascinatingly detailed, delightfully written" (LRB), here is a masterful exploration of the ways in which people sought to lead fulfilling lives, illuminating the central values of early modern England, while casting incidental light on some of the perennial problems of human existence. Keith Thomas, one of the foremost historians of our time, sheds light on the origins of the modern ideal of human fulfillment and explores the many obstacles to its realization, looking at work, wealth, possessions, friendship, family, and sociability. The book looks at the cult of military prowess, the pursuit of honor and reputation, the nature of religious belief, and the desire to be posthumously remembered. The Ends of Life offers a fresh approach to the history of early modern England, providing modern readers with much food for thought on the problem of how we should live and what goals in life we should pursue.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199247233
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/15/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates xvii

List of Figures xviii

Introduction 1

1 Fulfilment in an Age of Limited Possibilities 8

The Idea of Fulfilment 8

The Constraints of the Age 13

New Aspirations 29

Individuality 37

2 Military Prowess 44

Arms and The Man 44

The Waning of the Military Ideal 62

Appendix: Monarchs and Military Prowess 76

3 Work and Vocation 78

The Primal Curse? 78

The Rewards of Labour 91

4 Wealth and Possessions 110

Goods and the Social Order 110

Possessions and their Meaning 119

From Hostility to Acceptance 132

Wealth as Fulfilment? 142

5 Honour and Reputation 147

Precedence and Superiority 147

Aristocratic Honour 154

The Honour of the People 160

Credit and Shame 174

The Decline of Honour? 179

6 Friendship and Sociability 187

The Idea of Friendship 187

Male and Female Friends 198

Marriage and Children 214

Sociability 220

7 Fame and The Afterlife 226

Heaven and Hell 226

Posthumous Fame 235

The Quest for Immortality 252

Inexorable Oblivion? 262

Note on References 269

Abbreviations 270

Notes 273

Index 369

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