Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages
The Noble Savage, earthly paradise, the original condition of human beings, cynicism, Christianity . . .
"All of us men were born in the first man without vice, and all of us lost the innocence of our nature by the sin of the same man. Thence our inherited mortality, thence the manifold corruptions of body and mind, thence ignorance, distress, useless cares, illicit lusts, sacrilegious errors, empty fear, harmful love, unwarranted joys, punishable counsels, and a number of miseries no smaller than that of our crimes."—St. Prosper of Aquitania, quoted in Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages
This volume of essays, written by George Boas in collaboration with Arthur O. Lovejoy, was originally intended to be the second in a series of four documenting the history of primitivism and related ideas about goodness in the world. Covering the Middle Ages, these essays underscore the continuity between pagan and Christian cultures with respect to concepts of primitivism and examine the latter period's modifications of a group of favorite classical themes. They demonstrate the growth of primitivism and anti-primitivism from the first through the thirteenth centuries and include a discussion of such subjects as the Noble Savage, earthly paradise, the original condition of human beings, and cynicism and Christianity. They also, as Boas suggests in his preface, "drive the piles for a bridge between the Renaissance and Classical Antiquity, although the superstructure itself remains to be constructed."
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