Sir Charles Grandison, natural law and the fictionalisation of the 18th-Century English gentleman

O'Connell, Lisa (2012) Sir Charles Grandison, natural law and the fictionalisation of the 18th-Century English gentleman. Intellectual History Review, 23 3: 1-15. doi:10.1080/17496977.2012.723339

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Author O'Connell, Lisa
Title Sir Charles Grandison, natural law and the fictionalisation of the 18th-Century English gentleman
Formatted title
Sir Charles Grandison, natural law and the fictionalisation of the 18th-Century English gentleman
Journal name Intellectual History Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1749-6977
1749-6985
Publication date 2012-09
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17496977.2012.723339
Open Access Status
Volume 23
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This article enquires into the relation between enlightened humanist conceptions of natural law and the period novel's fictionalization of the English gentleman in the context of its marriage plot. Marriage played a key role in enlightened theorisations of natural law precisely as an institution capable of grounding familial and civil life in an emerging concept of human nature. Yet public debate about the state's role in the regulation of marriage in mid-eighteenth-century England demonstrates that natural law lent itself to very different models of sovereignty and governance. The antinomies that characterized natural law's circulation in the English context are uniquely fictionalized in Samuel Richardson's last novel, Sir Charles Grandison (1753–54), a lengthy parallel narrative of failed courtship and matrimonial felicity that draws upon Pufendorf's model of natural law, yet is only partly implicated in its secular humanism. The novel's eponymous gentleman hero – a ‘Man of Religion and Virtue’ – exemplifies a mix of Anglican piety, civic virtue and disinterested sympathy that is sanctioned by natural law and sealed by the English marriage plot.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Discourses of Humanity in the Enlightenment; iFirst: Version of record first published: 24 Sep 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 21 Mar 2013, 11:26:33 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts