Date of Award
Associate of Arts
Early in the Nineteenth Century there occurred a change in the literary artist's perception of what conditions and what actions constitute good and evil. This changed perception was a great faction in the development of literature and thinking of that century, and the effects can be traced into our own century. The change accompanied and was an integral part of a general change in the perception of the role of man in the universe. The emphasis on man's role in society was overshadowed by a growing belief in man's value as an individual and a concern wtih individual needs and freedom. This concern with individual liberty, born and fostered in the Nineteenth Century, was no doubt the child engendered in the Eighteenth Century by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau crusaded the cause of human rights and advocated that the individual escape the influence of corrupting society to the freedom of nature where the inherent goodness of the individual could flourish. After overcoming the inertia caused by the necessary displacement of accepted ideas, Rousseau's belief in the individual became a trend which had tangible results in the French Revolution beginning in 1792, and was evident in the Romantic Revolt in England. It is indicated that Lord Byron, who took up the crusade for individual liberty, was born in 1788--exactly ten years after the death of Rousseau, when Rousseau's ideas had reached a degree of general popularity.
Morgan, Frank M., "The nineteenth-century inversion of good and evil : its roots in the eighteenth century, and its continuation in the twentieth century" (1969). Honors Theses. 229.