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Home » Books » History » Europe » England

Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment

Gender and Emotion in Early Methodism

By Phyllis Mack

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Format: Hardcover, 328 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 14 August 2008
This is a major study of the daily life and spirituality of early Methodist men and women. Phyllis Mack challenges traditional, negative depictions of early Methodism through an analysis of a vast array of primary sources - prayers, pamphlets, hymns, diaries, recipes, private letters, accounts of dreams, and rules for housekeeping. She examines how ordinary men and women understood the seismic shift from the religious culture of the seventeenth century to the so-called 'disenchantment of the world' that developed out of the Enlightenment. She places particular emphasis on the experience of women, arguing that both their spirituality and their contributions to the movement were different from men's. This revisionist account sheds light on how ordinary people understood their experience of religious conversion, marriage, worship, sexuality, friendship, and the supernatural, and what motivated them to travel the world as missionaries.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The managed heart: educating the emotions in Methodist discourse; 2. 'Out of the paw of the lion': first conversion; 3. Men of feeling: natural and spiritual affection in the lives of the preachers; 4. Women in love: Eros and piety in the minds of Methodist women; 5. Mary Fletcher on the cross: gender and the suffering body; 6. Agency and the unconscious: the Methodist culture of dreaming; 7. Methodism and modernity.

About the Author

Phyllis Mack is Professor of History and Women's Studies at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Her previous publications include Calvinist Preaching and Iconoclasm in the Netherlands, 1544-1569 (1978) and Visionary Women: Ecstatic Prophecy in 17th Century England (1992).


Review of the hardback: 'This is an important revisionist study that will necessitate a re-evaluation of the eighteenth century development of Methodism and an expression of its dynamism.' The Historical Association Review of the hardback: '... for the general reader this is a well-presented and brilliant book. I commend it heartily.' The Methodist Recorder Review of the hardback: 'What this book offers most significantly is a discursive, rather than merely descriptive, framework for understanding and interpreting the religious experience of women. ... It is an important treatment of women's religious experiences in post-Enlightenment Western society.' The Catholic Historical Review Review of the hardback: 'Mack's Heart Religion [in the British Enlightenment], whether read singly or in interrogative tandem with her earlier Visionary Women, is a challenging and thought-provoking book. It prompts the reader to question the very basis upon which the historical interaction of religion, gender, and wider cultural trends can be written as well as offering insightful interpretations of the experience and culture of early Methodism.' American Historical Review 'Mack's new study seeks to treat its emotional character seriously, and, by emphasising the relationship that her many diarists, letter writers and poets had with the self, she adds to a case currently being made by religious historians for regarding Methodism as a creed that had a close connection with enlightenment thought.' Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature '... a path-breaking work of meticulous scholarship and shrewd analysis.' Bruce Hindmarsh, Books and Culture

EAN: 9780521889186
ISBN: 0521889189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Dimensions: 23.42 x 15.19 x 2.51 centimetres (0.68 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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