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School of History

HIST0744 - Politics of the Soul in Early Modern Europe

Module code: HIST0744

This module explores the ways in which the idea of the soul was constructed and employed in the political, moral and religious environments of early modern Europe. In an era of deep and protracted conflict and rapid intellectual change, the soul was central to many of the most important controversies of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. It was also the concern of moralists and political authors, who inherited and reformulated classical ideas about reason, virtue and happiness to formulate accounts of human nature, and elaborate visions of psychological harmony and social stability, that could accommodate the realities of warfare as well as the discoveries of the 'new worlds' and the 'new sciences'. The module focuses closely on these themes, as they were explored by influential writers such as Thomas More, Francisco de Vitoria, Michel de Montaigne, Thomas Hobbes and Margaret Cavendish, in a range of philosophical and literary genres.

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