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4.3 Responses to religion

Reasoned responses to religion could take many forms. It was rare for writers to profess outright atheism; even in those cases where we may suspect authors of holding this view, censorship laws made their public expression unlawful. These laws were particularly stringent in France. In many cases reasoned critique was applied to the practices of institutional religion, such as the corruption of the clergy or the rituals of worship, rather than to more fundamental matters of doctrine or faith.
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4.1 Constant human nature

Just as with other natural phenomena, Enlightenment thinkers came to the conclusion as a result of observation that human nature itself was a basic constant. In other words, it possessed common characteristics and was subject to universal, verifiable laws of cause and effect. As Hume put it:

Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should:

  • have gained a basic understanding of the cultural climate that existed as the Enlightenment began;

  • understand the main characteristics of the Enlightenment;

  • be aware of some of the cultural shifts and trends leading from Enlightenment to Romanticism.


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Introduction

The unit will examine the Enlightenment. To help understand the nature and scale of the cultural changes of the time, we offer a 'map' of the conceptual territory and the intellectual and cultural climate. We will examine the impact of Enlightenment on a variety of areas including science, religion, the classics, art and nature. Finally, we will examine the forces of change which led from Enlightenment to Romanticism.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
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Acknowledgements

This unit was written by Ms Eva Solzman

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce
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References

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1999) ed. by Adrian Room, London: Cassell.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1983 [1817]) Biographia Literaria, vol.2, ed. by James Engell and W. Jackson Bate, Princeton and London: Princeton University Press and Kegan Paul.
Dickinson, Emily (2002) ‘If I …’, quoted in frontispiece to Staying Alive: real poems for unrea
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Glossary

Ballad A simple narrative poem in short stanzas, usually sentimental in nature.
Caesura A pause in a line of verse, usually in the middle.
Couplet A stanza of two lines.
Elegy A serious, mournful or reflective poem. Classical elegies feature either couplets of hexameter and p
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9 Metre

As we have seen, scansion is the act of mapping out stress patterns in order to ascertain the metre (rhythm). In the accentual-syllabic system, the dominant tradition in English, both accents (stresses) and syllables are measured and counted. In accentual metre, the stresses are counted and the syllables can vary. In syllabic metre, the syllables are counted, while the stresses can vary.

Here is pentameter, the line of f
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8 Stress and rhythm

All words are comprised of stressed and unstressed syllables. Any line of poetry (or, indeed, any text) can be marked to show which syllables are stressed and which are unstressed. The act of mapping out stress patterns, usually by placing the appropriate symbols over the syllables, is known as scansion.

To scan a line of poetry, say it out loud, without thinking about it unduly. Listen for which syllables you naturally emphasise. The stressed syllables can be indi
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7 Other rhyming techniques

  • Near- or half rhymes are words or combinations of words that achieve only a partial rhyme. Half rhymes can be between words with just one syllable, or between parts of words, for example where the accented syllables rhyme with each other, but other syllables in the word don't rhyme. For instance: cover–shovel; wily–piling, calling–fallen; wildebeest–building.

  • Assonant rhyme refers to echoing vowel sounds, eith
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5.6 Other stanza lengths

Other stanza lengths include the sestet, and the octave.

We've looked at how poems utilise line-breaks and stanzas to evoke a landscape, develop ideas and to present different elements, the juxtaposition of which suggests an argument. We've looked at poems which are about themselves – about line-breaks or poetry itself – and found that they are also about something else. Poetry doesn't always move in a linear fashion, following a single idea or event. It can jum
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1.2 The Sandham Memorial Chapel

So let us turn first of all to the visual arts, and see how one artist, Stanley Spencer, created a memorial to those who died in the First World War. Spencer was profoundly affected by his experience of the war, and decorated the walls of a chapel especially designed to display his work.

First of all, it will help to have a few biographical details. This is not because you could not understand his painting without knowing about him: you could certainly pick up a lot of information about
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8 Conclusion

I hope that you will agree that we have moved a long way from my original request to you to look at your local war memorial. You may have been stimulated to seek out other war memorials, and at the very least I hope that you will not pass one without noting its shape, location and form.

Even if you go no further with the subject, we have, I hope, seen how something whose existence, location and meaning we may well have taken for granted can yield interesting discussion. In thinking and
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have:

  • an awareness of the processes of study in the arts and humanities

  • an understanding of key concepts in the arts and humanities.


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Introduction

This unit gives you the opportunity to practise good study techniques using the theme of commemoration and memorials. It will help you to begin to think about how form influences meaning in the arts and how ideas influence approaches to the humanities.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from An introduction to the humanities (A103) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other cours
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8 How ‘Romantic’ is the Pavilion?

At first glance the Pavilion's exoticism might seem to have a good deal to do with contemporary Romantic writers’ fascination with the Oriental and exotic. A widespread public interest in these modes put Byron's ‘Oriental tales’ and Thomas Moore's romance Lalla Rookh at the top of the bestseller lists. Coleridge's ‘Kubla Khan’, after all, is often regarded as the paradigmatic Romantic short poem. So, flouting the conventions of historians of architecture, who designate this p
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3 From Enlightenment to Romantic?

In 1800, having divorced Mrs Fitzherbert and contracted a disastrous marriage with Princess Caroline of Brunswick, forced on him by the necessity of persuading the king to clear his vast debts, the Prince of Wales fled back to Brighton with his court. In 1801 he whiled away his time (and squandered Caroline's dowry) dreaming up extensions and changes to the interior decor of the Pavilion.

Of these, certainly the most interesting and prophetic was his development of the interior into a C
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6.4 Second Essay

As a preliminary to the Second Essay, Owen says that he will enhance further his discussion of his underlying principles and then begin to explain to his readers how they can be applied in practice. Notice too the prologue for the Second Essay (p. 113) , quoting Vansittart's view that ‘if we cannot reconcile, all opinions, let us endeavour to unite all hearts’, a ringing phrase often quoted by Owen in later publications and widely adopted as one of the most popular Owenite homilies
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6.3 First Essay

The earliest essay, written under the nom de plume of ‘one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Lanark’ (if intended to provide Owen with anonymity this was a thin disguise, given the content) and entitled ‘On the Formation of Character’, is prefixed by the famous precept, central to the ‘New View’, that:

Any general character, from the best to the worst, from the most ignoran
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6.2 The dedications

Let us start with the dedications, which are both intriguing and of considerable interest.

Exercise 7

Read Owen's dedications heading each essay. To whom are the essays dedicated and can you suggest why?

Click 'View docum
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