Robert Browning's Decoding of Natural Theology in "Caliban Upon Setebos"

Robert Browning's Decoding of Natural Theology in "Caliban Upon Setebos" STUART PETERFREUND n his letter of June 27, 1864, to Julia Wedgwood, Robert Browning reports on the following encounter: Last night I was talking with a friend who read aloud a passage from Dr. Newman's Apology in which he says that "he is as convinced of the existence of God"--an individual, not an external force merely--"as of his own existence:" I believe he deceives himself and that no sane man has ever had, with mathematical exactness, equal conviction on those two points--though the approximation to equality may be in any degree short of that: and looking at the practical effects of belief, I should expect that it would be so: I can see nothing that comes from absolute contact, so to speak, between man and God, but everything in all variety from the greater or less distance between the two. When anyone tells me that he has such a conviction, I look at a beggar who holds the philosopher's stone according to his profession. Do you see the bearing of all this as I seem to see it? How, remaining beggars--or poor, at least--we may at once look for the love of those to whom we give our http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Robert Browning's Decoding of Natural Theology in "Caliban Upon Setebos"

Victorian Poetry, Volume 43 (3) – Sep 11, 2005

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190
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Abstract

STUART PETERFREUND n his letter of June 27, 1864, to Julia Wedgwood, Robert Browning reports on the following encounter: Last night I was talking with a friend who read aloud a passage from Dr. Newman's Apology in which he says that "he is as convinced of the existence of God"--an individual, not an external force merely--"as of his own existence:" I believe he deceives himself and that no sane man has ever had, with mathematical exactness, equal conviction on those two points--though the approximation to equality may be in any degree short of that: and looking at the practical effects of belief, I should expect that it would be so: I can see nothing that comes from absolute contact, so to speak, between man and God, but everything in all variety from the greater or less distance between the two. When anyone tells me that he has such a conviction, I look at a beggar who holds the philosopher's stone according to his profession. Do you see the bearing of all this as I seem to see it? How, remaining beggars--or poor, at least--we may at once look for the love of those to whom we give our

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Sep 11, 2005

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