A Sincere and Teachable Heart

Self-Denying Virtue in British Intellectual Life, 1736-1859


In A Sincere and Teachable Heart: Self-Denying Virtue in British Intellectual Life, 1736-1859, Richard Bellon demonstrates that respectability and authority in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain were not grounded foremost in ideas or specialist skills but in the self-denying virtues of patience and humility. Three case studies clarify this relationship between intellectual standards and practical moral duty. The first shows that the Victorians adapted a universal conception of sainthood to the responsibilities specific to class, gender, social rank, and vocation. The second illustrates how these ideals of self-discipline achieved their form and cultural vigor by analyzing the eighteenth-century moral philosophy of Joseph Butler, John Wesley, Samuel Johnson, and William Paley. The final reinterprets conflict between the liberal Anglican Noetics and the conservative Oxford Movement as a clash over the means of developing habits of self-denial.

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Part I The Meaning and Function of Patience and Humility
Chapter one
Common Things to Speak of: the Meaning of Patience and Humility in the Nineteenth-Century British Imagination
Chapter two
From Virtue to Duty: The Victorian Application of Patience and Humility to Social and Intellectual Life
Part II The Eighteenth Century
Chapter three
Character and Morality in Eighteenth-Century British Thought
Chapter four
The Utility of Virtue
Chapter five
Patience, Utility and Revolution
Part III Oxford
Chapter six
Oxford and the Age of Reform
Chapter seven
The Oxford Movement: Faith and Obedience in a Tumultuous and Shifting World
Chapter eight
Faith and Reason in Newman’s University Sermons
Chapter nine
The Hampden Affair: Divergent Paths out of a Spiritual Wilderness
Chapter ten
Thomas Arnold Confronts the “Oxford Malignants”
Chapter eleven
The Tamworth Letters: Virtue and Science
Chapter twelve
Tract 90 and the Trial of Patience in the Church of England

A wide cross-section of academics interested in modern British history, religious studies, intellectual history, and moral philosophy.