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Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World (Hardcover)
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The stereotype of the emotionless or gloomy Puritan is still with us, but this book's purpose is not merely to demonstrate that it is false. The reason to look at seventeenth-century English and American Puritans' understanding and experience of joy, happiness, assurance, and affliction is to show how important the emotions were for Puritan culture, from leading figures such as Richard Baxter and John Bunyan through to more obscure diarists and letter-writers. Rejecting the modern opposition between 'head' and 'heart', these men and women believed that a rational religion was also a deeply-felt one, and that contemplative practices among other spiritual duties could produce transporting joy which was understood as a Christian's birth right. The emotional experiences which they expected from their faith, and the ones they actually encountered, constituted much of its power. Theologians, historians and literary scholars here combine to bring the study of Puritanism together with the new vogue for the history of the emotions.