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Romantic Atheism : Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830 - Martin Priestman

Romantic Atheism

Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830

Hardcover Published: 7th January 2015
ISBN: 9780521621243
Number Of Pages: 326

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Romantic Atheism explores the links between English Romantic poetry and the first burst of outspoken atheism in Britain, from the 1780s onwards. Martin Priestman examines the work of Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron and Keats in their most intellectually radical periods, establishing the depth of their engagement with such discourses, and in some cases their active participation. Equal attention is given to less canonical writers: such poet-intellectuals as Erasmus Darwin, Sir William Jones, Richard Payne Knight and Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and controversialists including Holbach, Volney, Paine, Priestley, Godwin, Richard Carlile and Eliza Sharples (these last two in particular representing the close links between punishably outspoken atheism and radical working-class politics). Above all, the book conveys the excitement of Romantic atheism, whose dramatic appeals to new developments in politics, science and comparative mythology lend it a protean energy belied by the common and more recent conception of 'loss of faith'.

Industry Reviews

"Priestman's study adds the obvious but still overlooked and unquestionably important feature of atheism, especially as it gets expressed in the discourse of Romantic poetry. By addressing attacks (both oblique and direct) on conventional religion expressed in Romantic poetry, Priestman presents us with a study that is long overdue." Religion & Literature "...a very conscientious, diligent, helpful, even moving book. Readers who share his assumptions may consider it definative." North Dakota Quarterly

List of illustrations
The atheism debate, 1780âÇô1800
Masters of the universe: Lucretius, Sir William Jones, Richard Payne Knight and Erasmus Darwin
And did those feet? Blake in the 1790s
The tribes of mind: the Coleridge circle in the 1790s
Whatsoe'er is dim and vast: Wordsworth in the 1790s
Temples of reason: atheist strategies, 1800âÇô1830
Pretty paganism: the Shelley generation in the 1810s
Glossary of theological and other terms
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521621243
ISBN-10: 0521621240
Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 326
Published: 7th January 2015
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.57