“A large number of passengers were already at the station-house awaiting the departure of the cars. By the aspect and demeanor of these persons it was easy to judge that the feelings of the community had undergone a very favorable change in reference to the celestial pilgrimage. It would have done Bunyan’s heart good to see it.”
Any sign of moral didacticism ruins art, if art is understood as its own autonomous social system. Art, in this sense, cannot be the servant of religion, education, philosophy, science any other kind of communication. These other systems can only use art parasitically.
If we are going to discuss social change, we have to consider the materials, technologies, or media that facilitate and shape communication. We can’t just
The novel as a genre, particularly as written by Turgenev, is all about the study of individuals–what makes people different, not what makes them similar.
The only way to manage the explosion of knowledge in 18th-19th centuries was through specialization. In premodern Europe, the amateur or “gentleman scholar” could be respected. A person of wide learning who studies for the pleasure it, not as a profession, would be much sought after in upper class society, which is the world Hedda Gabbler is accustomed to and wants to return to. When she can’t find it–and other characters’ desires start closing in on her–she shoots herself.
We see in thinkers like John Stuart Mill, who died just six years before the premiere of A Doll’s House, that morality and religion are only loosely coupled. For Mill, and his father, Christianity actually undermined morality.