Almasi, Zsolt Books
About the author: Zsolt Almasi is Senior Lecturer of English Renaissance Literature at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary. He received his M.A.’s in English Literature and in Philosophy, furthermore his Ph.D. from the Eötvös Leránd University, Hungary. He has published articles on William Shakespeare and on Renaissance philosophy. He is currently working on a project on Francis Bacon, which includes the translation of some of Bacon’s key writings into Hungarian and writing articles.2004 0-7734-6408-5
This book aims at reconciling “custom”, i.e. individual and social fixed patterns of behavior and human freedom, i.e. choice based on the use of reason to the extent that is allowed by the analysis of texts written in English in Early Modern England. For the sake of this enterprise, the local reading of some influential texts from the perspective of the history of notions and that of reception provides the basis. The analysis, thus, focuses on the different but still related notions of “custom” as they appeared in John Wilkinson’s first English Ethica Nikomachea (1547), in the first translation of Montaigne’s Essais (John Florio, 1603), in Francis Bacon’s Advancement of Learning and Essays, which latter analysis attempts to overcome tensions identified in Wilkinson and Montaigne via locating the meditation in a socio-politico-institutional context. This solution is, however, not satisfactory at all, because of the uncanny anthropological implications of Bacon’s envisioning human beings as machines. This multidisciplinary approach, i.e. the combination of philosophy, literary studies and emblem studies opens new perspectives on the interpretation of Early Modern texts, and cultural phenomena.