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The World of Mr Casaubon Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)

The World of Mr Casaubon By Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)

The World of Mr Casaubon by Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)


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Summary

While the efforts of George Eliot's fictional Mr Casaubon to create a 'Key to All Mythologies' may seem fruitless and obscure, Colin Kidd's interdisciplinary study excavates Casaubon's hinterland and illuminates the fierce ideological war which raged over the use of pagan myths to defend Christianity from radical Enlightenment thought.

The World of Mr Casaubon Summary

The World of Mr Casaubon: Britain's Wars of Mythography, 1700-1870 by Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)

The World of Mr Casaubon takes as its point of departure a fictional character - Mr Casaubon in George Eliot's classic novel, Middlemarch. The author of an unfinished 'Key to All Mythologies', Casaubon has become an icon of obscurantism, irrelevance and futility. Crossing conventional disciplinary boundaries, Colin Kidd excavates Casaubon's hinterland, and illuminates the fierce ideological war which raged over the use of pagan myths to defend Christianity from the existential threat posed by radical Enlightenment criticism. Notwithstanding Eliot's portrayal of Casaubon, Anglican mythographers were far from unworldly, and actively rebutted the radical freethinking associated with the Enlightenment and French Revolution. Orientalism was a major theatre in this ideological conflict, and mythography also played an indirect but influential role in framing the new science of anthropology. The World of Mr Casaubon is rich in interdisciplinary twists and ironies, and paints a vivid picture of the intellectual world of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.

The World of Mr Casaubon Reviews

'Behind this excellent study of the history of mythography in Britain lies an ingenious starting point: the 'hobby horse' of George Eliot's dried-up pedant and seeker of the 'Key to All Mythologies' in Middlemarch the Revd Edward Casaubon ... Colin Kidd's achievement is to have made an impressively wide-ranging and readable contribution to the immensely complex history of the subject that caught the Revd Edward Casaubon in its net.' Rosemary Ashton, The Times Literary Supplement
'Kidd's sprightly style can breathe life into apparently dead disputes. He makes a particularly touching case for Jacob Bryant, whose hefty A New System of Ancient Mythology (1774-76) was the closest thing to a prototype of Casaubon's project.' Rosemary Hill, The Guardian
'The World of Mr Casaubon is an important insight into an early modern and nineteenth-century intellectual tradition - and a valuable explanation of why Eliot wished to give this tradition such a bruising.' Richard Fallon, The British Society for Literature and Science

About Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)

Colin Kidd is Wardlaw Professor at the University of St Andrews and a Fifty-Pound Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and to the Guardian, and has lectured in all parts of the British Isles, in France and in the United States.

Table of Contents

1. Prologue: Casaubon's dubious bequest; 2. The key to all mythologies; 3. The legacies of the ancients in Enlightenment mythography; 4. The obsessions of Jacob Bryant: Arkite idolatry and the quest for Troy; 5. The dispute of the Orient: Anglo-French rivalries in an Age of Revolution; 6. Fish-gods, floods and serpent-worship: from apologetics to anthropology; 7. Epilogue: the keys to all mythology in 1872.

Additional information

NLS9781107608597
9781107608597
1107608597
The World of Mr Casaubon: Britain's Wars of Mythography, 1700-1870 by Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews, Scotland)
New
Paperback
Cambridge University Press
2018-01-04
250
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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