In the foregoing pages I have attempted first to say something about literature, and then about some literary responses to certain intellectual and cultural challenges posed by the rise of science in England during the Renaissance. My central claim can be put simply. It is that literature gives us the most complex verbal expression of human experience and, in so far as it is concerned with matters of belief, reaffirms our paradoxical ‘middle state’. It discourages us, that is, from relinquishing an essential human tension either by putting all the responsibility for determining human worth in God’s hands and none in man’s, or by putting it all in man’s ability to ‘describe the physical determinants of his existence.
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