By Misty G. Anderson
In the eighteenth century, British Methodism used to be an item of either derision and hope. Many well known eighteenth-century works ridiculed Methodists, but frequently the exact same performs, novels, and prints that solid Methodists as primitive, irrational, or deluded additionally betrayed a thinly cloaked fascination with the reviews of divine presence attributed to the hot evangelical flow. Misty G. Anderson argues that writers, actors, and artists used Methodism as an idea to interrogate the bounds of the self and the fluid relationships among faith and literature, among cause and exuberance, and among theater and trust.
Imagining Methodism situates works through Henry Fielding, John Cleland, Samuel Foote, William Hogarth, Horace Walpole, Tobias Smollett, and others along the contributions of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield with a view to know the way Methodism's model of "experimental faith" was once either born of the trendy global and perceived as a possibility to it.
Anderson's research of reactions to Methodism exposes a sophisticated interlocking photo of the spiritual and the secular, phrases much less obvious than they appear in present severe utilization. Her argument isn't concerning the lives of eighteenth-century Methodists; relatively, it really is approximately Methodism because it was once imagined within the paintings of eighteenth-century British writers and artists, the place it served as an indication of sexual, cognitive, and social possibility. by way of situating satiric pictures of Methodists of their well known contexts, she recaptures a full of life cultural debate over the domain names of faith and literature within the sleek British mind's eye.
Rich in cultural and literary research, Anderson's argument might be of curiosity to scholars and students of the eighteenth century, spiritual experiences, theater, and the heritage of gender.
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Additional info for Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Enthusiasm, Belief, and the Borders of the Self
The size of the crowds gathered for field preaching and hymn singing was in itself spectacular. Even their earliest congregations were larger Longing to Believe 31 than those that could be held by any British theater. Their print volume was also astounding; Methodist journals, autobiographies, hymnals, and eventually magazines poured off the presses. The mainstay of their print ventures, sermons and hymnbooks, translated the performative core of the Methodist experience into cheap, widely available text.
Foote 70). Close to Burke’s articulation of the sublime, Foote frames his point in terms of the artist who must manage his or her own experience of an intense loss of conscious control in the production of art. Bad enthusiasm subjects the modern self to the “Dictates of an inflamed Imagination” as experienced by nonartists, an “ethereal fire” that deludes the individual into a primitive belief that he or she is inspired, when true enthusiasm belongs to the artistic genius who can regulate it, the proof of which is artistic production (19).
Are written into the eighteenth-century discussion of Methodism as well as into histories of the eighteenth century. ”19 The reading strategy translates the content of any religious event, statement, or representation into a cultural past or as a misrecognized desire for liberation in the present. Religious revival becomes a misplaced experience of social unrest; religious fervor is misrecognized eroticism; and hopes of heaven are deferrals of political revolution. Transposing spiritual searching into “more fundamental, often unconscious human needs” that must be decoded is a form of symptomatic reading that informs eighteenth-century critical discourse as well as subsequent methodologies 16 Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Mack, Heart Religion 9).