Old Masters, New Subjects: Early Modern and Poststructuralist Theories of Will

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Stanford University Press, 1995 - 260 pages
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The encounter between recent post-structuralist theory and a traditional idea of the Renaissance occasions this book. Its dual purpose is, first, to analyze early modern theories of the will and subjecthood and, second, to explore their relation to poststructuralist thought. It deals with discussions of will and mastery by five masters - Petrarch, Luther, Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and Galileo - in texts that have some autobiographical component. Each writer embodies a paradigmatic early modern discourse on will: humanism, theologies of the will, and the emergent discourse of scientific rationalism. All are structured by a tension between the desire for mastery and the acknowledgment that mastery is impossible. And all share a rhetoric of authority and voluntarism that seeks to compensate for the various forms of predestination or bondage of the will experienced by these writers.
 

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Contents

The Metamorphoses of the Subject in Critical Theory
13
The Fortunes of Francis Petrarch
37
Will and Bondage in Martin Luther Ignatius
89
Galileo and the Book of Nature
143
Afterword
178
Bibliography
235
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Page iv - A limited nature in other creatures is confined within the laws written down by Us. In conformity with thy free judgment, in whose hands I have placed thee, thou art confined by no bounds; and thou wilt fix limits of nature for thyself.

About the author (1995)

Dolora A. Wojciehowski is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.

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