By Martin Priestman
Romantic Atheism explores the hyperlinks among English Romantic poetry and the 1st burst of outspoken atheism in Britain from the 1780s onwards. Martin Priestman examines the paintings of Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron and Keats of their such a lot intellectually radical classes, constructing the intensity in their engagement with such discourses, and sometimes their energetic participation. equivalent consciousness is given to much less canonical writers: such poet-intellectuals as Erasmus Darwin, Sir William Jones, Richard Payne Knight and Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and controversialists together with Holbach, Volney, Paine, Priestley, Godwin, Richard Carlile and Eliza Sharples (these final specifically representing the shut hyperlinks among punishably outspoken atheism and radical working-class politics). peculiarly, the ebook conveys the buzz of Romantic atheism, whose dramatic appeals to new advancements in politics, technological know-how and comparative mythology lend it a protean power belied via the typical and newer notion of 'loss of faith'.
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I consider the in¯uence of the example of this class as essential to the welfare of the community. I know that they are in general given to reading, and desirous of information on all subjects. (pp. 392±3) If Watson hoped to stem the rising tide of in®delity by this attack, he may have helped to increase it: Watson Refuted (1796), by the otherwise unknown Samuel Francis, MD, is arguably only the 38 Romantic atheism second published British declaration of atheism after Hammon and Turner's Answer to Dr Priestley.
18 At the end of the tribunal, the legislators rule that all religions have been vehicles for the personal aggrandisement of priests and rulers, and that henceforth only the Laws of Nature should be followed. In Part I of his long anti-radical poem The Pursuits of Literature (1794), T. J. Mathias attacks both Knight and Volney. A note on Knight's Priapus states that `all the ordure and ®lth, all the antique pictures, and all the representations of the generative organs, in their most odious and degrading protrusion, have been raked together and copulated .
Xxiv). The last two were chie¯y responsible for the great EncyclopeÂdie (1751±72), which was generally held to have smuggled atheist tendencies into popular discourse under the cloak of general knowledge ± something also achieved in a more satirically focussed way by Voltaire's Dictionaire philosophique portatif (1764). Of the other two, Hume was a notorious sceptic and HelveÂtius was the author of De l'esprit (1758), a materialist account of the mind which bypassed the idea of the soul, though in naming him Hammon probably means Baron d'Holbach, another member of the philosophe circle whose SysteÁme de la nature (1770) was published pseudonymously and known in Britain as being either by HelveÂtius or `Mirabaud'.