Addressing the age-old question of human perfectibility in Daniel Defoe's Mere Nature Delineated: or, a Body without a Soul

Název: Addressing the age-old question of human perfectibility in Daniel Defoe's Mere Nature Delineated: or, a Body without a Soul
Zdrojový dokument: Brno studies in English. 2013, roč. 39, č. 1, s. [199]-209
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Článek
Licence: Neurčená licence

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This article discusses the concern with the improvement or perfectibility of human nature in eighteenth-century English society and the necessity of its encouragement considering the prevalence of human degeneration at different levels: intellectual, moral, social, political or cultural. After a brief presentation of the philosophical and literary background of the perfectibility debates, we look into Daniel Defoe's literary representation of human improvement and degeneration in his Mere Nature Delineated: or, a Body without a Soul (1726). Defoe's pamphlet had its roots in a real case of human imperfection or degradation, namely in Peter the Wild Boy's story, which gave him the opportunity to criticize his contemporaries' vices and failures.
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