Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.753898
Title: Providence, emotion and self-writing in England, c.1660-c.1720
Author: Lewis, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 9838
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
This thesis offers a new interpretation of providentialism in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England. Historians have seen this as a transitional period in providential belief and expression, between heightened engagement and gradual decline, and have provided us with many perspectives on the changing role of providence in English culture. But we still have yet to understand fully the role of providence in individual lives, where change occurred at an experiential and quotidian level. This thesis aims to fill this historiographical gap by examining practical, subjective and individual experiences of providentialism. Drawing on first-person narratives such as diaries and memoirs, conceptualised as sites of personal agency, it sheds light at the micro-level on broader shifts in providential belief and thought. These primary sources show how individuals exercised a personal providentialism, writing their relationship with God’s providence into their own emerging sense of self. Investigation of the emotional resonances of providentialism also emphasizes its centrality to inner lives and personal identity, characterised by subtle but significant modes of feeling. Several case studies demonstrate how people constantly shaped and re-shaped themselves, and moulded ideas and beliefs relating to providence to fit particular social and religious circumstances and changing intellectual concerns. Providentialism is therefore shown to be elastic and subjective – a subjectivity that ensured the adaptability and durability of the concept of providence in an era of atheism, science and expanding secular authority. Far from seeing this period as a stage in an inexorable decline, the thesis shows how people continued to find uses for providence in creative and imaginative ways to make sense of themselves and their world in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.753898  DOI: Not available
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