Common Courtesy in Eighteenth-century English Literature

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University of Delaware Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
"This book is devoted to a study of this complex intellectual problem or, rather, to an exposition of the ways the greatest writers of this time confronted it and, indeed, solved it. Each of them grasped a special subject matter: Berkeley, for example, wished to espouse an "obvious but amazing" philosophy; Sterne wished to disclose a pitifully obscene private life. In Common Courtesy, the author describes the realm of courtesy each of them composed, a realm in which such subject matter could be made apprehensible to society. Readers of this book should ask, as they attend the author's analysis of each writer and each work: in discussing The Rambler, Tristram Shandy, and An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot as essays in common courtesy, has the author been able to explain the individual sense of each one in turn and to show how its creator made this sense widely available and widely agreeable?"--BOOK JACKET.

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Contents

Introduction
5
Berkeleys Philosophy
17
Popes Poetry
41
Sternes Fiction
75
Johnsons Criticism
101
Boswells Biography
137
Conclusion
162
Copyright

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Page 7 - It was said of Socrates that he brought Philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit among men ; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffeehouses.
Page 18 - IT is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the senses; or else such as are perceived by attending to the passions and operations of the mind; or lastly, ideas formed by help of memory and imagination— either compounding, dividing, or barely representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways.
Page 45 - This day, black Omens threat the brightest Fair, That e'er deserv'da watchful spirit's care; Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight; But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night. Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law, Or some frail China jar receive a flaw; Or stain her honour or her new brocade; Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade; Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball; Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
Page 53 - Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field ? Where grows ? — where grows it not ? If vain our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil...
Page 46 - Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd, And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Page 54 - ORDER is Heaven's first law ; and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Page 54 - Oh ! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame ; Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale...
Page 53 - Pursues that chain which links th' immense design, Joins heaven and earth, and mortal and divine ; Sees that no being any bliss can know, But touches some above, and some below ; Learns from this union of the rising whole, The first, last purpose of the human soul ; And knows where faith, law, morals, all began, All end in love of God and love of man.
Page 125 - Nothing can less display knowledge or less exercise invention than to tell how a shepherd has lost his companion and must now feed his flocks alone, without any judge of his skill in piping; and how one god asks another god what is become of Lycidas, and how neither god can tell. He who thus grieves will excite no sympathy; he who thus praises will confer no honour.

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