Melville's Clarel and the intersympathy of creeds
Clarel, an 18,000-line poem, is one of the longest examples of the "faith-doubt" genre that arose in Victorian times and one that has largely been ignored by Melville critics. Author William Potter argues that Melville's poem Clarel is actually a study in comparative religion--one that explores faith in the post-Darwinian age. It was written at a crossroads in Western thought, when science, technology, nationalism, and imperialism were reshaping the world, and in the process ushered in the modern age. Potter proposes that the poem explains that science may have altered our perception of the world, but it cannot eradicate the basic human need for faith, which is timeless and therefore encompasses far more than the concerns of Western Christianity. In Melville's Clarel and the Intersympathy of Creeds, Potter examines the poem within a historical context and by so doing attempts to resolve some of the issues critics have asserted the poem presents. He reviews the burgeoning field of comparative religion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and includes discussions of many of the theories and ideas of well-known figures of the time, such as Hegel, Hume, Muller, Emerson, Whitman, and Schopenhauer. Potter attempts to account for the huge abundance of non-Christian material that appears in the poem. He maintains that Melville answers the nineteenth-century questions of faith through the heterodoxical themes and ideas shared by all religions that lie beneath their very different doctrines--redemptive suffering, the tempered heart, and the aversion to worldliness. Melville's Clarel and the Intersympathy of Creeds will entice Melville scholars and is a much-anticipated critical study of theliterature.
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Clarel and NineteenthCentury Comparative Religion
Melville as Comparative Religionist
NineteenthCentury Comparative Religion
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Abdon Agar American Arabs argues aspects atheism Belex Bezanson Buddhism canto Celio characters Christ Christian Church civilization Clarel Clarke comparative religionists comparative religious concerning Confidence-Man contrast cultural debate depicted Derwent described desert divine Djalea doctrine Dolorosa doubt dream Druze elaborated Emerson emphasis evolutionary model example fact faith finally Greek Hegel Herman Melville heterodox Hinduism historical Holy Land human idea intersympathy of creeds Islam James Freeman Clarke Jerusalem Jewish Journals Judaism Lyonese Mar Saba Margoth material Maurice Melville's metaphysical Miiller mind Moby-Dick monk moral Mortmain Muslims mystery myth narrative narrator Nathan nature Nehemiah nineteenth century nineteenth-century comparative observes orthodoxy philosophical pilgrims poem poem's political Protestant Protestantism R. W. B. Lewis regard relationship religion religious belief rhetorical rites Rolfe Rolfe's Ruth Sartor Resartus Schopenhauer seems sensual serves spiritual suffering suggests symbolic tempered heart theme thought throughout Clarel tion truth Ungar Vine Wandering Jew Western writes Zionism