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Idols of the Marketplace: Idolatry and Commodity Fetishism in English Literature, 1580-1680
     

Idols of the Marketplace: Idolatry and Commodity Fetishism in English Literature, 1580-1680

by D. Hawkes
 

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Postmodern society seems incapable of elaborating an ethical critique of the market economy. Early modern society showed no such reticence. Between 1580 and 1680, Aristotelian teleology was replaced as the dominant mode of philosophy in England by Baconian empiricism. This was a process with implications for every sphere of life: for politics and theology,

Overview

Postmodern society seems incapable of elaborating an ethical critique of the market economy. Early modern society showed no such reticence. Between 1580 and 1680, Aristotelian teleology was replaced as the dominant mode of philosophy in England by Baconian empiricism. This was a process with implications for every sphere of life: for politics and theology, economics and ethics, aesthetics and sexuality. Through nuanced and original readings of Shakespeare, Herbert, Donne, Milton, Traherne, and Bunyan, David Hawkes sheds light on the antitheatrical controversy, and early modern debates over idolatry and value and trade. Hawkes argues that the people of Renaissance England believed that the decline of telos resulted in a reified, fetishistic mode of consciousness which manifests itself in such phenomena as religious idolatry, commodity fetish, and carnal sensuality. He suggests that the resulting early modern critique of the market economy has much to offer postmodern society.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Idols of the Marketplace constitutes an original and fully historicized analysis of six important early modern writers, along with.. the early Christian and early modern debate over idolatry, the early modern debates over value and trade, and the antitheatrical controversy. The boldness lies in its willingness to entertain and examine the idea that early modern defences of intrinsic value and teleology may in fact contain a politically and ethically useful theory of society...Professor Hawkes's prose is clear and accessible without being reductive'. - From reader's report by James Holstrum

'Idols of the Market Place is an excellent book - provocative, coherent and full of insight.' - Times Literary Supplement

'...provocative and fascinating readings of early modern texts by a knowledgeable and astute author.' - Laura Lunger Knoppers, Albion

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312240073
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
10/18/2001
Series:
Early Modern Cultural Studies Series
Edition description:
2001
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.03(d)

Meet the Author

David Hawkes is Associate Professor of English, Lehigh University. His first book, Ideology, was published in 1996.

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