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Passion's Triumph over ReasonA History of the Moral Imagination from Spenser to Rochester$
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Christopher Tilmouth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212378.001.0001

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Rochester: The Disappointments of Hobbism and Libertinism

Rochester: The Disappointments of Hobbism and Libertinism

(p.315) 8 Rochester: The Disappointments of Hobbism and Libertinism
Passion's Triumph over Reason

Christopher Tilmouth (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the complete works of the Earl of Rochester. It begins by noting Rochester's anxious preoccupation with images of boundlessness and dissolution. It then presents a threefold analysis of Rochester's writings. First, the chapter outlines some lyrics which celebrate libertinism and the serial pursuit of appetites and social power. Second, the focus shifts to satires (especially the ‘Satyre Against Reason and Mankind’) which criticize libertinism, this because the boundless dissolution of self and the culture of mutual antagonism to which libertinism give rise, ultimately fail to satisfy. A third section examines Rochester's political writings, and the moral and political critique of libertinism implicit in those. A conclusion emphasizes Rochester's interest in generosity as the epitome of an alternative ideal of conduct.

Keywords:   dissolution of self, lyrics, satires, Satyre Against Reason and Mankind, Rochester's political writings, generosity

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