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The Politics of Pride in David Hume and David Simple

The Politics of Pride in David Hume and David Simple

Chapter:
(p.113) 4 The Politics of Pride in David Hume and David Simple
Source:
The Secret History of Emotion
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226309934.003.0005

In the act of self-constitution that David Hume describes in A Treatise of Human Nature (1740), the soul is revealed in its basic vulnerability. For the very passions such as love and hate, pride and humility that constitute personal identity turn out to be political in the most literal sense, woven as they are in particular relations of “government and subordination.” So what exactly are the politics of pride and humility according to Hume? How do pride and humility map onto available regimes of government and subordination? Answering these questions helps to historicize particular forms of self in the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility. This is also demonstrated by Sarah Fielding's novel David Simple (1744). In broad terms, this chapter focuses on the emergence of specific complementary and gendered selves in the English culture of sensibility, and the consequent demise of passivity as a public virtue.

Keywords:   David Hume, passion, personal identity, humility, politics of pride, David Simple, passivity, English culture, public virtue

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