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Natural Law in English Renaissance Literature
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Details

  • Page extent: 308 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.465 kg
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Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521032896)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$45.99 (C)

Natural Law, whether grounded in human reason or divine edict, encourages humankind to follow virtue and shun vice. The concept dominated Renaissance thought, where its literary equivalent, poetic justice, underpinned much of the period's creative writing. Robert White examines a wide range of Renaissance texts to show how writers as radically different as Milton and Hobbes formulated versions of Natural Law that served to maintain socially established hierarchies. This is the first book to apply a vast area of intellectual history to imaginative literature across a variety of genres during the Renaissance period.

Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements: 1. Natural Law in history and Renaissance literature; 2. The heritage of classical Natural Law; 3. The reception of Natural Law in Renaissance England; 4. Law and literature in sixteenth-century England; 5. More's Utopia; 6. 'Love is the fulfilling of the law': Arcadia and Love's Labour's Lost; 7. 'Hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree': The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure; 8. Shakespeare's The History of King Lear; 9. Milton and Natural Law; Epilogue: Hobbes and the demise of classical Natural Law; Appendix: Aquinas on the right to own private property; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.

Review

"This fine, groundbreaking study analyzes the literature of the period from More to Milton for its engagement of the tradition of natural law, once crucial but now hardly ever remembered until very recently. This is a rich and important book." Anthony Dimatteo, Spenser Newsletter

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