Date of Award

6-1959

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

John L. Lievsay

Committee Members

Alwin Thaler, Arthur Hurst Moser, Kenneth Curry, Walter E. Stiefel

Abstract

(From the Introduction)

As old books open on the past, their times rise around them, regaining in varied scenes the pulse of life. A Huguenot congregation listens admiringly as its eloquent minister retells how John Calvin save True Religion from the night of Babylonian ignorance, or denounces the political doctrines of the Jesuits as homicidal. Kept at a distance by Roundhead soldiers, a tense mob watches as a King of England, with ceremonial dignity, bows his head upon a squat wooden block to pray and await the thud of a gleaming ax. Far from his birthplace in France, an Anglican priest combs his Latin lexicon for words strong enough to convict before the world those fanatic rascals who killed his King. A blind poet, certain of Divine illumination within, also seeks adequate terms to crush the secret adversary who has besmirched him. Wrongly accused by the poet, a gifted preacher who never quite got along with his colleagues protests vainly, again and again, his innocence of charges of writing an offending book, questioning the mysteries of religion, and robbing the virtue of serving-maids. Or, eagerly searching the horizons of a science which promises unlimited prosperity and dominion of the world, members of the fledgling Royal Society try to silence croaks of "Atheism!" and, to prove the existence of God, solemnly debate the occult powers of old crones and the evil eye. All these are parts of the life of the seventeenth century as it emerges from the book here translated, and from the life of its author.

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