Cambridge Professor Basil Willey wrote this volume as a companion to his preceding work on the Seventeenth Century Background. Whereas the 17th C. key word was "Truth," he maintains the 18th C key word was "Nature." Organized in 12 chapters including "The Wisdom of God in the Creation, Cosmic Toryism, Natural Morality--Shaftesbury, Nature in Satire, Jos. Priestley and the Socinian Moonlight, and Nature in Wordsworth.
THIS WORK IS BASED PRIMARILY ON PARTS OF A SERIES OF LECTURES GIVEN REGULARLY BY THE AUTHOR FOR AN EXAMINATION PAPER OF THAT NAME IN THE ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSE AT CAMBRIDGE BUT IS WIDER THAN ITS TITLE SUGGESTS, FOR THE FIRST HUNDRED PAGES ARE DEVOTED TO A COMPARISON OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY AND CHRISTIAN THOUGHT. THERE FOLLOW CHAPTERS ON HOOKER, BACON, HOBBES, THE CAMBRIDGE PLATONISTS, SIR THOMAS BROWNE, LOCKE, SHAFTESBURY, ADDISON, HUME, CHESTERFIELD, BURKE AND COLERIDGE. WHILE THE WORK IS A SERIES (...) OF HISTORICAL STUDIES, IT IS INSPIRED AND UNIFIED BY THE IDEA OF SHOWING THE INADEQUACY OF HUMANISM AS COMPARED TO CHRISTIANITY. (BP). (shrink)