England’s Mixed Genius
This paper argues that early eighteenth-century Englishmen were increasingly assertive about mixture as the source of their country’s perfections, as the cause of its unity, power, and civility. The recognition that English culture reproduced itself through mixture was remarkably broad. It cut across political and religious camps as well as different fields of inquiry, from linguistics to literature, politics, and geography. The paper depicts this broad recognition of mixture, evaluates its historical significance, and suggests some of the reasons that may explain this phenomenon. Professor Schmidgen points to some of the particular pressures of the period after the Glorious Revolution of 1688—the debates around toleration and naturalization, for example—but also begin to sort out some longer historical roots. He contends that the scientific and political revolutions of the seventeenth century contributed significantly to the elevation of mixture in early eighteenth-century culture.
A reception will follow the seminar.
This program is free and open to the public, but registration in advance is required. Register online here. Precirculated papers will be sent electronically to registrants.
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Learn more about the Center for Renaissance Studies’ Eighteenth-Century Seminar.