Posted by gkb on January 19, 1998 at 22:10:10:
In response to D.W. Harding, Austen and religion, written by Erin on January 18, 1998 at 15:04:15
I'm going on impressions here, but there is some small textual support for this idea in the passage about the girl with toothache in the juvenalia, and the passage where Anne Elliot recommends prose by great moralists and heroic examples of endurance. My idea of how Austen integrated religion into life and art is that people had a duty to endure sorrows without much complaint. Toward the end of sparing others the cognizance of one's own pain, one needed to use will-power to control the behavior, to seek the best, most ideal interpretation of events, and to consciously choose to dwell upon uplifting thoughts--in fact, some of the same methods that are currently taught for managing psychic pain in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and other cognitive-behavioral modes of treatment. This is a stern, practical application of the theory that God is good and we should be humble recipients of whatever God sends us to endure. I don't think it is Calvinistic because there is nothing predestined, and everyone has the opportunity to redeem themselves by working on their bad habits.
It is a rational method, but its aim is to purify the soul of egotistical nonsense.
Just my guesses, you understand....
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.