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In this article, the author looks at virtues and passions in early modern England as a case study for a new approach to the history of political ideas. The representations of virtues and passions are examined in myriad discourses and languages, metaphors and analogues, images and signs, fictions and imaginings. Emphasising the religious origin of the early-modern discussion of virtues and passions, the author, after a brief overview of some of the canonical texts of political theory, examines a number of lesser-known treatises and the literature of a wide variety of social and cultural practices that contemporaries imbued with ideological meaning, values and preferences, such as music, dance and, especially, horse riding. The significance of representations in painting is also stressed. The insights of the new cultural history should not be disregarded: all the sites of representations of virtues and passions must become the materials of the political theorist.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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