Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jane on Phyllis Wheatley

Phyllis Wheatley  (Jane Wilson)

Phillis Wheatley was born in Senegal/Gambia, West Africa in 1753. After being kidnapped from her home in West Africa when she was seven or eight years old; a slave ship brought her to Boston in 1761. John Wheatley, a prosperous tailor and his wife, Susanna, purchased the young girl directly from the ship and named her Phillis Wheatley (Phillis was the name of the ship that brought her to the New World). At the time of the purchase, The Wheatleys’ had no clue of the talents she would soon show the world. Phillis Wheatley became the first African American and one of the first women to publish a book of poetry in the colonies in 1773.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Alexa on John Locke

John Locke and the Enlightenment (Alexa Escamilla)

 The English philosopher and political theorist John Locke (1632-1704) laid much of the groundwork for the Enlightenment and made central contributions to the development of liberalism.

John Locke (1632–1704) is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Two Treatises of Government, he defended the claim that men are by nature free and equal against claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch. He argued that people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, that have a foundation independent of the laws of any particular society. Locke used the claim that men are naturally free and equal as part of the justification for understanding legitimate political government as the result of a social contract where people in the state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better ensure the stable, comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property. Since governments exist by the consent of the people in order to protect the rights of the people and promote the public good, governments that fail to do so can be resisted and replaced with new governments. Locke is thus also important for his defense of the right of revolution. Locke also defends the principle of majority rule and the separation of legislative and executive powers. In the Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke denied that coercion should be used to bring people to (what the ruler believes is) the true religion and also denied that churches should have any coercive power over their members. Locke elaborated on these themes in his later political writings, such as the Second Letter on Toleration and Third Letter on Toleration.

With this being said Locke’s principles are against those of Dryden. Which involve more tradition views such as the primacy of the king, the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ella on the Jacobite Rising of 1715

The Jacobite Rising of 1715 (Ella Stettner)

Jacobite: a supporter of the exiled Stuart King James II who was replaced by William III and Mary II after the Glorious Revolution because, among other things, he was Roman Catholic. 
The Jacobites in England were devoted to trying to restore James II to the throne and they worked hard to do so especially under the rule of William and Mary.  The rebellion was particularly strong in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, where it took on a particularly religious bent.  There were five attempts to restore James II over the following half a century; this presentation will focus on the third and first serious attempt.
The third attempt to restore James II is known as the 1715 rising, or the Fifteen Rebellion because it took place in 1715.  This date is significant because it was the year after Anne, the daughter of James died and was succeeded by George I, son of Queen Sophia of Hanover.  In 1715 there were two equally unsuccessful groups of Jacobites who attempted to carry out rebellions.  The first was led by the Earl of Mar, who launched a rebellion in the name of James VIII, the son of King James II who the Jacobites considered to be the legitimate ruler of Britain.  This rebellion initially had success, but it eventually met English troops led by the Duke of Argyle and was defeated in the Battle of Sheriffmuir.  The other rebellion was comprised of Highland supporters and Border Jacobites.  They also met English troops and were defeated after fighting for two days in the Battle of Preston.
One of the consequences of the First Jacobite Rebellion was that it made the government aware of the need to better manage the Scottish Highlands and break up some of the Jacobite groups.  They succeeded in building roads and forts across the area so that troops could more easily move through it.
As it relates to this class, many of the writers we have studied or will study secretly supported the Jacobite cause, including John Dryden and Aphra Behn.
After the final defeat of the last Jacobite rising in 1745, the cause largely died out and lived on only in sentiment.
Greenblatt, Stephen. Introduction. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th ed, vol. C, W.W. Norton, 2013, p. 2179.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Bailey on Caravaggio

Caravaggio, The Incredulity of St. Thomas

The art of the 17th was baroque style which was known for its exaggerated motion and clear detail. This style was used to evoke the drama of the specific piece of artwork. The directness of the artwork was used to appeal to the senses and emotions in order to make an impact.
The significant piece of art from this era is “The Incredulity of St. Thomas”. The painting has also come to be known by “Doubting Thomas” as well. This painting was created by Caravaggio in 1603. Caravaggio is said to the be the Italian Baroque master. This famous painting demonstrates the baroque style that represented 17th century art. In this painting, Saint Thomas’ hand is being guided by Jesus. This creates a dramatic focal point to the painting and demonstrated movement in order to reach the senses and emotions in new ways.
Jesus’ hand guides Saint Thomas’s into his wound. This draws the attention of Saint Thomas and the two other men in the painting. These men are more fascinated with the physical evidence of the wound rather than Christ himself. This demonstrates the baroque movement of artwork because it a dramatic movement that is the focal point of the piece.
The central point of the painting is clearly religious. It shows evidence of Christ’s crucifixion by Saint Thomas touching his wound. Thomas has a surprised look upon his face as if in unbelief, which is why the painting earned the name “Doubting Thomas” later on. One specific religious application to this painting is that Jesus is in clear human form with signs of wounds and hurt, which makes his resurrection more miraculous in contrast. This religious aspect of this artwork is also fitting for the 17th century.
The painting is now displayed in a museum in Germany. Caravaggio had many famous works before he passed away in 1610 in Italy .

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Emily on Jane Austen

Jane Austen (Emily Jones)

Jane Austen was born in December of 1775 in Steventon, into a family of 8 children. Her parents were intelligent, her father was a rector and her mother was described as a “woman with ready wit” and told impromptu stories. They encouraged the love of learning in all of their children. The family was close and this helped with her writings. She has 6 published pieces; “Pride and Prejudice”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Emma”, “Northanger Abbey”, “Persuasion”, “Mansfield Park”, and “Lady Susan”. Her writings are described as a parody of existing literature forms, specifically sentimental novel and sentimental comedy. They are also critiques of the landed gentry, which is the “British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income”. They also critique society’s view on women, especially within marriage. Her plots often explore “the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security”. “Her use of biting irony, along with her realism, humour, and social commentary” has made her popular and critically acclaimed in past and modern literature.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Greg on the Williamite Wars

The Williamite Wars (Greg Tippmann)

After the wars of the Three Kingdoms, and after the Catholic James II ascended the throne, his Protestant daughter Mary took a husband, the Protestant William of Orange, her first cousin. He was Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, favored by various political parties to depose James from his throne. To do so, he began the “Williamite War” that would start (weakly) in England and wreak havoc across the still recovering Ireland, beginning in November 1688. The Protestant army under William were called “Williamites” and those Catholic Irish troops under James called “Jacobites.” Badly outmanned, James II put up a paltry fight against the Williamites before fleeing to France where he gathered troops from Louis XIV. The Jacobite army regrouped in Ireland, but its siege of Londonderry was unsuccessful. Protestants in that city still celebrate the victory as a major event in Protestant history. William's most decisive victory was at the Battle of the Boyne, but his unwillingness to draw up a treaty that the Catholics could accept led to more bloodshed. The Jacobite troops regrouped in Galway, Athlone, Aughrim and Limerick. It was only after Patrick Sarsfield began negotiations with the Dutch general Godert de Ginkell that the Sieges on Limerick ended and a fairer treaty that included a clause for swearing loyalty to William was signed, ending the war, and assuring Protestant rule in Ireland.