D.W. Harding, Austen and religion
Posted by Erin on January 18, 1998 at 15:04:15:
In response to Enlightened Religion, written by Caroline on January 17, 1998 at 01:16:29
... because one of the trends of the Enlightenment was the move towards secularity in thought, and MP is concerned fundamentally with religion, which complicates matters somewhat.
Yes, I'm trying hard to put these two together! I have been trying to find out more about the church's concept of Enlightenment in Religion, without success. Certainly there was balance there, and one of the reasons why Methodism was frowned upon was because "enthusiasm" was involved.
What I'm trying to figure out is an assertion that D.W. Harding makes about Austen's work, where he claims she's in search of "unobtrusive spiritual surivival" through her novels. This gives much credence to the idea that Charlotte Lucas is 'condemned' (of sorts) by Austen in her decision to marry Mr. Collins.
Nevertheless, I'm not explicitly clear as to what kind of spiritual survival Austen strives for. That is to say, I don't know the full extent that role religion played in her world-view. I will only add that in another critical essay, the author claims that Austen's concern is with conduct, and almost never with religious experience. He points to the fact that while she often uses the word 'mind' she never uses the word 'soul'. This tendency may be as a result of Enlightenment philosophy were the mind, in a very significance sense, came to represent the soul. For many thinkers, I think the two terms were synomynous.
Hmmmm...well I'm off to read some more about the conflict (?) between rationalism and religion.
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