The Party of Humanity: Writing Moral Psychology in Eighteenth-Century Britain

The Party of Humanity: Writing Moral Psychology in Eighteenth-Century Britain

by Blakey Vermeule
     
 

What is the relationship between the self and society? Where do moral judgments come from? As Blakey Vermeule demonstrates in The Party of H umanity, such questions about sociability and moral philosophy were ce ntral to eighteenth-century writers and artists. Vermeule focuses on a group of aesthetically complicated moral texts: Alexander Pope's char acter

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Overview

What is the relationship between the self and society? Where do moral judgments come from? As Blakey Vermeule demonstrates in The Party of H umanity, such questions about sociability and moral philosophy were ce ntral to eighteenth-century writers and artists. Vermeule focuses on a group of aesthetically complicated moral texts: Alexander Pope's char acter sketches and Dunciad, Samuel Johnson's Life of Savage, and David Hume's self-consciously theatrical writings on pride and his autobiog raphical writings on religious melancholia. These writers and their ch aracters confronted familiar social dilemmas—sexual desire, gender id entity, family relations, cheating, ambition, status, rivalry, and sha me—and responded by developing a practical ethics about their own beh avior at the same time that they refined their moral judgments of othe rs.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Three writers, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and David Hume, and their "anxious moral postures" are the subject of this volume of 18th-century moral thought by Vermeule (English, Northwestern U., Evanston, Illinois). A group of texts provide the study's focus<-->Pope's character sketches and , Johnson's , and Hume's writings on pride and his autobiographical writings on religious melancholia. The ideas confronted in these works are analyzed in light of the emerging field of evolutionary psychology and Kantian moral philosophy, and lead to some interesting conclusions about how moral norms are shaped by social agendas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801864599
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
11/16/2000
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.54(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Blakey Vermeule is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University.

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