By Jo Carruthers

England's Secular Scripture seeks to track Englishness to its roots in England's Protestant prior, and extra in particular to its aesthetic and literary rooting in Protestant values. Carruthers argues that the formation of English identities in early glossy Reformation Protestantism affects English antagonism in the direction of overseas identities, specifically glaring opposed to Muslims. The ebook lines the transposing, and secularizing, of Reformation doctrines right into a 'Protestant aesthetic' of simplicity, individualism, and rationalism within the literature of Spenser and Milton. Wordsworth, Hardy, Eliot and Orwell, between others, perpetuate this aesthetic, one who keeps to form English mythologies as much as the current day. Carruthers sheds gentle on modern Islamophobia, assisting us to appreciate that Englishness isn't purely a mundane id (combating what's obvious as an irrational fundamentalist identity), yet one expert, satirically, via Protestant common sense and historical past.

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31 Iconoclasm enacted rejection of Rome and expressed a sense of English political freedom. Clement Fatoviç states that articulations of English liberty in political writings of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries are overwhelmingly shaped by anti-Catholicism to the degree that ‘Popery was paradigmatic of unfreedom itself’ (‘The Anti-Catholic Roots’, p. 40). Simplicity is commonly configured therefore through what it is not – in negative terms – a lack (of ostentation or ornament) rather than a positive definition.

41 As King notes (elaborating upon Stephen Greenblatt’s description of the destruction of the Bower of Bliss in The Faerie Queene book II as ‘the principle of regenerative violence’, in which the ‘act of tearing down is the act of fashioning’), ‘the internalization within The Faerie Queene of the Reformation attack against idolatry is a force that is aesthetically constructive as well as destructive’ (Spenser’s Poetry, p. 7). As Guyon’s violence regenerates, so the iconoclast principles and actions of the Reformers constructed a whole new set of aesthetic associations.

P. 234) Written in the 1670s by Church of England Priest, Thomas Ken, the explicitly Trinitarian hymn is nonetheless vague enough to fulfil the childrens’ less specific sentiments. At the heart of this quintessentially English story of simple joy in nature, then, is a dormant Protestantism that is awakened through its ritual enacting. The garden trope itself is both English and Protestant, a reworking of a recourse to Eden and the desire to return to prelapsarian innocence and authenticity. 2 A Protestantism that ‘makes sense’ and yet impels ‘no particular reverence’ lies at the heart of the recuperative English landscape in The Secret Garden and secular myths of Englishness alike.

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