Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Robert Bage (1728 - September 1, 1801), English novelist, born in Derbyshire, was the son of a paper-maker and was himself a papier. It was not until he was 53 that he took to literature; but in the 15 years following he produced six novels, of which Sir Walter Scott said that "strong mind, playful fancy, and extensive knowledge are everywhere apparent." Scott included Mount Henneth (1781), Barham Downs (1784), and Man as he is (1792) in his series of Ballantyne novels.
Bage was brought up as a Quaker, but he became a philosophical and religious radical after the French Revolution. He advocated democracy and equality (the abolition of the peerage), as well as the abolition of institutional religion.
The work for which he is chiefly read today is Hermsprong or Man as he is not. Although regarded as radical at the time, the novel is somewhat disjointed. The first section of the novel is a wit novel with a strong philosophical content. However, it then turns to a sentimental novel form and follows a romance. The philosophical challenge of the novel is that it concerns an American who has been raised entirely by American Indians, without either formal education or religion. With only nature to teach him, he sees through the hypocrisy of society and English manners. It is notable for pursuing the theme of the noble savage and, in particular, nativism. When the novel exchanges social satire for a love story, however, it loses any power to debunk educational and classist abuses.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details