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The Life and Work of Jane Ellen Harrison$
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Annabel Robinson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242337

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242337.001.0001

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Unanimism and Conversion: Cambridge and Europe 1910–1914

Unanimism and Conversion: Cambridge and Europe 1910–1914

(p.243) 11 Unanimism and Conversion: Cambridge and Europe 1910–1914
The Life and Work of Jane Ellen Harrison

Annabel Robinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter recounts the circumstances under which Harrison wrote Art and Ritual, and her influence on the first chapter of Murray's Four Stages of Greek Religion. She continued to struggle with her understanding of the word ‘religion’, and the place of reason and imagination. Much of Art and Ritual recapitulates the argument of Themis, with its interest in collective emotion and the book is skewed by her personal experience. On a visit to Switzerland she experienced what she called a ‘conversion’, not to God but to peace with the whole world, Frances Cornford in particular; this ‘conversion’ is compared to an experience of Bertrand Russell ten years earlier. She discovered the community of French poets who described themselves as ‘Unanimists’, and interepreted her ‘conversion’ through their philosophy of the social group.

Keywords:   Art and Ritual, emotion, social group, conversion, Bertrand Russell, Unanimism

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