Analogy, causation, and beauty in the works of Lucy Hutchinson.




Getz, Evan Jay.

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Lucy Hutchinson's translation of the ancient epic De Rerum Natura is remarkable in light of her firm commitments to Calvinist theology and the doctrine of Providence. David Norbrook and Jonathan Goldberg offer strikingly different explanations for the translation exercise. For instance, Norbrook argues that Hutchinson translates Lucretius in order that she might learn from the false images in Lucretius and make better ones in such works as Order and Disorder (Norbrook, “Margaret” 191). In contrast, Goldberg argues for compatibility between Lucretian atomism and Hutchinson’s Christianity, seeing no contradiction or tension (Goldberg 286). I argue that neither critic accounts for the aesthetics of beauty in Hutchinson's poetry; both critics instead attribute an aesthetics of the sublime to Hutchinson. In making this argument, I show that Hutchinson's theory of causation has much in common with Reformed Scholasticism, whereby she is able to restore a metaphysics of formal and final cause. Hutchinson also revives the doctrine of the analogy of being, or analogia entis, in order to show that the formal cause of creation is visible as God's glory. After a discussion of her metaphysics and ontology, I then show that Hutchinson's poetry reflects a theological aesthetics of beauty and not the aesthetics of the sublime. In the fourth chapter, I compare the typological accounts of Abraham found in Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan and Hutchinson's Order and Disorder with a view to virtue as the proper basis of authority. I conclude that the virtues of Hutchinson's Abraham invite individual participation in a way which is prevented by Hobbes. In my final chapter, I show that Hutchinson writes a hagiographical account of her husband in the Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 147-152)


Hutchinson, Lucy, b. 1620 -- Criticism and interpretation., Metaphysics in literature., Causation in literature., Analogy (Religion)., Aesthetics -- Religious aspects., Providence and government of God in literature.