The Italian Enlightenment, no less than the Scottish, was central to the emergence of political economy and creation of market societies. Sophus Reinert turns to Milan in the late 1700s to recover early socialists’ preoccupations with the often lethal tension among states, markets, and human welfare, and the policies these ideas informed.
Unlike his contemporaries, who saw Europe’s prosperity as confirmation of a utopian future, the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson saw a reminder of Rome’s lesson that egalitarian democracy could become a self-undermining path to dictatorship. This is a major reassessment of a critic overshadowed today by David Hume and Adam Smith.
For most of the twentieth century, the writings of aestheticians of the French Enlightenment were neglected by philosophers and students of the fine arts. Coleman has applied philosophical analysis to the writings of Diderot, Montesquieu, Dubos, Batteux, André, and Crousaz, among others, to reflect on the fine arts of the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century.
The eighteenth century saw the creation of a number of remarkable mechanical androids: at least ten prominent automata were built between 1735 and 1810 by clockmakers, court mechanics, and other artisans from France, Switzerland, Austria, and the German lands. Designed to perform sophisticated activities such as writing, drawing, or music making, these “Enlightenment automata” have attracted continuous critical attention from the time they were made to the present, often as harbingers of the modern industrial age, an era during which human bodies and souls supposedly became mechanized.
In Androids in the Enlightenment, Adelheid Voskuhl investigates two such automata—both depicting piano-playing women. These automata not only play music, but also move their heads, eyes, and torsos to mimic a sentimental body technique of the eighteenth century: musicians were expected to generate sentiments in themselves while playing, then communicate them to the audience through bodily motions. Voskuhl argues, contrary to much of the subsequent scholarly conversation, that these automata were unique masterpieces that illustrated the sentimental culture of a civil society rather than expressions of anxiety about the mechanization of humans by industrial technology. She demonstrates that only in a later age of industrial factory production did mechanical androids instill the fear that modern selves and societies had become indistinguishable from machines.
Robert Zaretsky Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress B1302.E65Z37 2015 | Dewey Decimal 828.609
Throughout his life James Boswell struggled to fashion a clear account of himself, but try as he might he could not reconcile the truths of his era with those of his religious upbringing. Few periods better crystallize this turmoil than 1763–1765, the years of his Grand Tour and the focus of Robert Zaretsky’s thrilling intellectual adventure.
Enlightenment inquiries into the weather sought to impose order on a force that had the power to alter human life and social conditions. British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment reveals how a new sense of the national climate emerged in the eighteenth century from the systematic recording of the weather, and how it was deployed in discussions of the health and welfare of the population. Enlightened intellectuals hailed climate’s role in the development of civilization but acknowledged that human existence depended on natural forces that would never submit to rational control.
Reading the Enlightenment through the ideas, beliefs, and practices concerning the weather, Jan Golinski aims to reshape our understanding of the movement and its legacy for modern environmental thinking. With its combination of cultural history and the history of science, British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment counters the claim that Enlightenment progress set humans against nature, instead revealing that intellectuals of the age drew characteristically modern conclusions about the inextricability of nature and culture.
A great book about an even greater book is a rare event in publishing. Robert Darnton’s history of the Encyclopédie is such an occasion. The author explores some fascinating territory in the French genre of histoire du livre, and at the same time he tracks the diffusion of Enlightenment ideas. He is concerned with the form of the thought of the great philosophes as it materialized into books and with the way books were made and distributed in the business of publishing. This is cultural history on a broad scale, a history of the process of civilization.
In tracing the publishing story of Diderot’s Encyclopédie, Darnton uses new sources—the papers of eighteenth-century publishers—that allow him to respond firmly to a set of problems long vexing historians. He shows how the material basis of literature and the technology of its production affected the substance and diffusion of ideas. He fully explores the workings of the literary market place, including the roles of publishers, book dealers, traveling salesmen, and other intermediaries in cultural communication. How publishing functioned as a business, and how it fit into the political as well as the economic systems of prerevolutionary Europe are set forth. The making of books touched on this vast range of activities because books were products of artisanal labor, objects of economic exchange, vehicles of ideas, and elements in political and religious conflict.
The ways ideas traveled in early modern Europe, the level of penetration of Enlightenment ideas in the society of the Old Regime, and the connections between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution are brilliantly treated by Darnton. In doing so he unearths a double paradox. It was the upper orders in society rather than the industrial bourgeoisie or the lower classes that first shook off archaic beliefs and took up Enlightenment ideas. And the state, which initially had suppressed those ideas, ultimately came to favor them. Yet at this high point in the diffusion and legitimation of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution erupted, destroying the social and political order in which the Enlightenment had flourished.
Never again will the contours of the Enlightenment be drawn without reference to this work. Darnton has written an indispensable book for historians of modern Europe.
In a dual biography crafted around the famous encounter between the French philosopher who wrote about power and the Russian empress who wielded it with great aplomb, Robert Zaretsky invites us to reflect on the fraught relationship between politics and philosophy, and between a man of thought and a woman of action.
Changing Identities in Early Modern France offers new interpretations of what it meant to be French during a period of profound transition, from the outbreak of the Hundred Years War to the consolidation of the Bourbon monarchy in the seventeenth century. As medieval notions were gradually replaced by new definitions of the state, society, and family, dynastic struggles and religious wars raised questions about loyalty and identity and destabilized the meaning of "Frenchness." After examining the interplay between competing ideologies and public institutions, from the monarchy to the Parlement of Paris to the aristocratic household, the volume explores the dynamics of deviance and dissent, particularly in regard to women’s roles in religious reform movements and such sensationalized phenomena as the witch hunts and infanticide trials. Concluding essays examine how regional and confessional identities reshaped French identity in response to the discovery of the New World and the spectacular spread of Calvinism.
Contributors. Charmarie Blaisdell, William Bouwsma, Lawrence M. Bryant, Denis Crouzet, Robert Descimon, Barbara B. Diefendorf, Richard M. Golden, Sarah Hanley, Mack P. Holt, Donald R. Kelley, Kristen B. Neuschel, J. H. M. Salmon, Zachary Sayre Schiffman, Silvia Shannon, Alfred Soman, Michael Wolfe
For the Enlightenment mind, from Moses Mendelssohn’s focus on the moment of surprise at the heart of the work of art to Herder’s imagining of the seismic moment at which language was discovered, it is the flash of recognition that nails the essence of the work, the blink of an eye in which one’s world changes.
In Cherubino’s Leap, Richard Kramer unmasks such prismatic moments in iconic music from the Enlightenment, from the “chromatic” moment—the single tone that disturbs the thrust of a diatonic musical discourse—and its deployment in seminal instrumental works by Emanuel Bach, Haydn, and Mozart; on to the poetic moment, taking the odes of Klopstock, in their finely wrought prosody, as a challenge to the problem of strophic song; and finally to the grand stage of opera, to the intense moment of recognition in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride and the exquisitely introverted phrase that complicates Cherubino’s daring moment of escape in Mozart’s Figaro. Finally, the tears of the disconsolate Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail provoke a reflection on the tragic aspect of Mozart’s operatic women. Throughout, other players from literature and the arts—Diderot, Goethe, Lessing among them—enrich the landscape of this bold journey through the Enlightenment imagination.
Communities of Discourse
Robert Wuthnow Harvard University Press, 1989 Library of Congress HN13.W88 1989 | Dewey Decimal 303.372
Sociologist Robert Wuthnow notes remarkable similarities in the social conditions surrounding three of the greatest challenges to the status quo in the development of modern society—the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the rise of Marxist socialism.
Reknowned historian Roger Chartier, one of the most brilliant and productive of the younger generation of French writers and scholars now at work refashioning the Annales tradition, attempts in this book to analyze the causes of the French revolution not simply by investigating its “cultural origins” but by pinpointing the conditions that “made is possible because conceivable.” Chartier has set himself two important tasks. First, while acknowledging the seminal contribution of Daniel Mornet’s Les origens intellectuelles de la Révolution française (1935), he synthesizes the half-century of scholarship that has created a sociology of culture for Revolutionary France, from education reform through widely circulated printed literature to popular expectations of government and society. Chartier goes beyond Mornet’s work, not be revising that classic text but by raising questions that would not have occurred to its author. Chartier’s second contribution is to reexamine the conventional wisdom that there is a necessary link between the profound cultural transformation of the eighteenth century (generally characterized as the Enlightenment) and the abrupt Revolutionary rupture of 1789. The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution is a major work by one of the leading scholars in the field and is likely to set the intellectual agenda for future work on the subject.
Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu are best known for their humanist theories and liberating influence on Western civilization. But as renowned French intellectual Louis Sala-Molins shows, Enlightenment discourses and scholars were also complicit in the Atlantic slave trade, becoming instruments of oppression and inequality.
Translated into English for the first time, Dark Side of the Light scrutinizes Condorcet’s Reflections on NegroSlavery and the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot side by side with the Code Noir (the royal document that codified the rules of French Caribbean slavery) in order to uncover attempts to uphold the humanist project of the Enlightenment while simultaneously justifying slavery. Wielding the pen of both the ironist and the moralist, Sala-Molins demonstrates the flawed nature of these attempts and the reasons given for this denial of rights, from the imperatives of public order to the incomplete humanity of the slave (and thus the need for his progressive humanization through slavery), to the economic prosperity that depended on his labor. At the same time, Sala-Molins uses the techniques of literature to give equal weight to the perspective of the “barefooted, the starving, and the slaves” through expository prose and scenes between slave and philosopher, giving moral agency and flesh-and-blood dimensions to issues most often treated as abstractions.
Both an urgent critique and a measured analysis, Dark Side of the Light reveals the moral paradoxes of Enlightenment philosophies and their world-changing consequences.
Louis Sala-Molins is a moral and political philosopher and emeritus professor at the University of Toulouse. He is the author of many books, including Le Code Noir, ou Le calvaire de Canaan and L’Afrique aux Amériques.
John Conteh-Morgan is associate professor of French and Francophone, African-American, and African studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of Theatre and Drama in Francophone Africa: A Critical Introduction.
Eating the Enlightenment offers a new perspective on the history of food, looking at writings about cuisine, diet, and food chemistry as a key to larger debates over the state of the nation in Old Regime France. Embracing a wide range of authors and scientific or medical practitioners—from physicians and poets to philosophes and playwrights—E. C. Spary demonstrates how public discussions of eating and drinking were used to articulate concerns about the state of civilization versus that of nature, about the effects of consumption upon the identities of individuals and nations, and about the proper form and practice of scholarship. En route, Spary devotes extensive attention to the manufacture, trade, and eating of foods, focusing upon coffee and liqueurs in particular, and also considers controversies over specific issues such as the chemistry of digestion and the nature of alcohol. Familiar figures such as Fontenelle, Diderot, and Rousseau appear alongside little-known individuals from the margins of the world of letters: the draughts-playing café owner Charles Manoury, the “Turkish envoy” Soliman Aga, and the natural philosopher Jacques Gautier d’Agoty. Equally entertaining and enlightening, Eating the Enlightenment will be an original contribution to discussions of the dissemination of knowledge and the nature of scientific authority.
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Laurence Lampert focuses on exotericism: the use of artful rhetoric to simultaneously communicate a socially responsible message to the public at large and a more radical message of philosophic truth to a smaller, more intellectually inclined audience. Largely forgotten after the Enlightenment, exotericism, he shows, deeply informed Strauss both as a reader and as a philosophic writer—indeed, Lampert argues, Strauss learned from the finest practitioners of exoteric writing how to become one himself.
Examining some of Strauss’s most important books and essays through this exoteric lens, Lampert reevaluates not only Strauss but the philosophers—from Plato to Halevi to Nietzsche—with whom Strauss most deeply engaged. Ultimately Lampert shows that Strauss’s famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss’s exoteric craft. Celebrating Strauss’s achievements while recognizing one main shortcoming—unlike Nietzsche, he failed to appreciate the ramifications of modern natural science for philosophy and its public presentation—Lampert illuminates Strauss as having even greater philosophic importance than we have thought before.
Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the “technological life.” Here, Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact—the gun—by offering a novel and historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the “political” to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the nature of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
What was the Enlightenment? Though many scholars have attempted to solve this riddle, none has made as much use of contemporary answers as Dan Edelstein does here. In seeking to recover where, when, and how the concept of “the Enlightenment” first emerged, Edelstein departs from genealogies that trace it back to political and philosophical developments in England and the Dutch Republic. According to Edelstein, by the 1720s scholars and authors in France were already employing a constellation of terms—such as l’esprit philosophique—to describe what we would today call the Enlightenment. But Edelstein argues that it was within the French Academies, and in the context of the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, that the key definition, concepts, and historical narratives of the Enlightenment were crafted.
A necessary corrective to many of our contemporary ideas about the Enlightenment, Edelstein’s book turns conventional thinking about the period on its head. Concise, clear, and contrarian, The Enlightenment will be welcomed by all teachers and students of the period.
Throughout his life, prophetic American philosopher Murray Bookchin created social ecology as a comprehensive social program for the challenges of our present era. Through tireless teaching, speaking, organizing, and writing, Bookchin presented a humanist vision of ecology based on community, direct democracy, and the better promises of the Enlightenment, showing how we could transform our society into one that is free and egalitarian.
Enlightenment and Ecology is an international collection of commemorative essays by scholars and activists who have each incorporated the ideas of social ecology into their own work. This book also examines how the Kurdish freedom movement is using the Bookchin’s utopian ideas. In a time of urgent need for radical change, these essays provide both precious historical lessons and a transformative road map.
Enlightenment and Revolution
Paschalis M. Kitromilides Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress B3511.E54K47 2013 | Dewey Decimal 949.507
Greece sits at the center of a geopolitical storm that threatens the stability of the European Union. To comprehend how this small country precipitated such an outsized crisis, it is necessary to understand how Greece developed into a nation in the first place. Enlightenment and Revolution identifies the ideological traditions that shaped a religious community of Greek-speaking people into a modern nation-state--albeit one in which antiliberal forces have exacted a high price.
Paschalis Kitromilides takes in the vast sweep of the Greek Enlightenment in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, assessing developments such as the translation of modern authors into Greek; the scientific revolution; the rediscovery of the civilization of classical Greece; and a powerful countermovement. He shows how Greek thinkers such as Voulgaris and Korais converged with currents of the European Enlightenment, and demonstrates how the Enlightenment's confrontation with Church-sanctioned ideologies shaped present-day Greece. When the nation-state emerged from a decade-long revolutionary struggle against the Ottoman Empire in the early nineteenth century, the dream of a free Greek polity was soon overshadowed by a romanticized nationalist and authoritarian vision. The failure to create a modern liberal state at that decisive moment is at the root of Greece's recent troubles.
The late eighteenth century witnessed an explosion of intellectual activity in Scotland by such luminaries as David Hume, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, James Boswell, and Robert Burns. And the books written by these seminal thinkers made a significant mark during their time in almost every field of polite literature and higher learning throughout Britain, Europe, and the Americas.
In this magisterial history, Richard B. Sher breaks new ground for our understanding of the Enlightenment and the forgotten role of publishing during that period. The Enlightenment and the Book seeks to remedy the common misperception that such classics as The Wealth of Nations and The Life of Samuel Johnson were written by authors who eyed their publishers as minor functionaries in their profession. To the contrary, Sher shows how the process of bookmaking during the late eighteenth-century involved a deeply complex partnership between authors and their publishers, one in which writers saw the book industry not only as pivotal in the dissemination of their ideas, but also as crucial to their dreams of fame and monetary gain. Similarly, Sher demonstrates that publishers were involved in the project of bookmaking in order to advance human knowledge as well as to accumulate profits.
The Enlightenment and the Book explores this tension between creativity and commerce that still exists in scholarly publishing today. Lavishly illustrated and elegantly conceived, it will be must reading for anyone interested in the history of the book or the production and diffusion of Enlightenment thought.
Srinivas Aravamudan here reveals how Oriental tales, pseudo-ethnographies, sexual fantasies, and political satires took Europe by storm during the eighteenth century. Naming this body of fiction Enlightenment Orientalism, he poses a range of urgent questions that uncovers the interdependence of Oriental tales and domestic fiction, thereby challenging standard scholarly narratives about the rise of the novel.
More than mere exoticism, Oriental tales fascinated ordinary readers as well as intellectuals, taking the fancy of philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot in France, and writers such as Defoe, Swift, and Goldsmith in Britain. Aravamudan shows that Enlightenment Orientalism was a significant movement that criticized irrational European practices even while sympathetically bridging differences among civilizations. A sophisticated reinterpretation of the history of the novel, Enlightenment Orientalism is sure to be welcomed as a landmark work in eighteenth-century studies.
Edited by Michel Vovelle University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress DC33.4.U6613 1997 | Dewey Decimal 944.0340922
Enlightenment Portraits permits us to see direct actors in history, people who took an active part in the collective adventures that put the human being at the center of Western civilizations vision of the world: nobles, priests, functionaries, men of letters, artists, and explorers, also soldiers and women.
The Enlightenment's leading figures cast their light in an irregular and unequal way: areas and environments in which new ideas penetrated and took effect alternated with shadowy patches. The fundamental structures of society may have remained stable, but new ways of producing, of being, and of appearing made sometimes abrupt headway. Attitudes toward life, birth, love, marriage and sexuality, and death had begun to change.
The twilight of the Enlightenment came at the end of the eighteenth century, part of a sequence of events of which the French Revolutions was simply the paroxysm.
A subtle and complex study of the Enlightenment, this book allows contemporary readers to reflect on how nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars have constructed their views on eighteenth-century man.
Situated along the line that divides the rich ecologies of Asia and Australia, the Indonesian archipelago is a hotbed for scientific exploration, and scientists from around the world have made key discoveries there. But why do the names of Indonesia’s own scientists rarely appear in the annals of scientific history? In The Floracrats Andrew Goss examines the professional lives of Indonesian naturalists and biologists, to show what happens to science when a powerful state becomes its greatest, and indeed only, patron.
With only one purse to pay for research, Indonesia’s scientists followed a state agenda focused mainly on exploiting the country’s most valuable natural resources—above all its major export crops: quinine, sugar, coffee, tea, rubber, and indigo. The result was a class of botanic bureaucrats that Goss dubs the “floracrats.” Drawing on archives and oral histories, he shows how these scientists strove for the Enlightenment ideal of objective, universal, and useful knowledge, even as they betrayed that ideal by failing to share scientific knowledge with the general public. With each chapter, Goss details the phases of power and the personalities in Indonesia that have struggled with this dilemma, from the early colonial era, through independence, to the modern Indonesian state. Goss shows just how limiting dependence on an all-powerful state can be for a scientific community, no matter how idealistic its individual scientists may be.
Were the thirteen essays Michel Foucault wrote in 1978–1979 endorsing the Iranian Revolution an aberration of his earlier work or an inevitable pitfall of his stance on Enlightenment rationality, as critics have long alleged? Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi argues that the critics are wrong. He declares that Foucault recognized that Iranians were at a threshold and were considering if it were possible to think of dignity, justice, and liberty outside the cognitive maps and principles of the European Enlightenment.
Foucault in Iran centers not only on the significance of the great thinker’s writings on the revolution but also on the profound mark the event left on his later lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. Contemporary events since 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Arab Uprisings have made Foucault’s essays on the Iranian Revolution more relevant than ever. Ghamari-Tabrizi illustrates how Foucault saw in the revolution an instance of his antiteleological philosophy: here was an event that did not fit into the normative progressive discourses of history. What attracted him to the Iranian Revolution was precisely its ambiguity.
Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was not an effort to understand Islamism but, rather, his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.
In a tour de force of intellectual history, Siep Stuurman rediscovers the remarkable early Enlightenment figure FranÃƒÂ§ois Poulain de la Barre. A dropout from theology studies at the Sorbonne, Poulain embraced the philosophy of Descartes, became convinced of the injustice and absurdity of the subjection of women, and assembled an entirely original social philosophy. His writings challenging male supremacy and advocating gender and racial equality are the most radically egalitarian texts to appear in Europe before the French Revolution.
In exploring Poulain's breakthrough, Stuurman sheds new light on the origins of the Enlightenment, the history of feminism, the emergence of rational Christianity, and the social and political implications of Descartes's philosophy. This groundbreaking work, the first comprehensive study of Poulain, brings to life the men and women of the Radical Enlightenment, who pioneered ideas about equality that would shape humankind to this day. Impeccably researched, cogently argued, and lucidly written, this is truly a masterpiece of scholarship.
Table of Contents:
Preface Notes on Spelling
Introduction: Origins of the Enlightenment 1. The Making of a Philosopher 2. The Feminist Impulse 3. Cartesian Equality 4. The Power of Education 5. Reason and Authority 6. Anthropology and History 7. The Road to Geneva 8. Rational Christianity Conclusion: Inventing the Enlightenment
Acknowledgments Notes Index
This is a brilliant work: vastly original, deeply learned, and urgently needed. For the first time it gives Poulain, little known until recent decades, the full treatment warranted by the philosophical breakthrough he effected. The writing is superb. Stuurman makes dense philosophical arguments accessible without oversimplifying, and has an unusually good sense of what the reader needs to be told as he moves through his presentation. The book will without question assume an important place in Enlightenment scholarship and stimulate debate over the origins of modern liberal social thought. --Carolyn Lougee Chappell, Stanford University
I hardly suspected Poulain's importance until I was convinced of it by this thoroughly interesting and cogent book. Stuurman has a remarkably broad perspective on the history of philosophy, society, and political thought in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There is a considerable amount of original research here that is exceptionally well integrated into the wider Enlightenment context, and the whole is very well written. Stuurman's discussion of Enlightenment debates about race and color among humanity is one of the most striking and original parts of the book. This is a fine work on an essential topic. --Jonathan Israel, author of Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750
Stuurman rescues from obscurity the revolutionary thinking of Poulain de la Barre and shows him to be a political philosopher of singular importance whose vision of human equality, particularly the full participation of women, was breathtaking in its audacity. Beginning with the new metaphysics of matter in motion he found in Descartes, Poulain went on to lay a philosophical foundation for democracy. This brilliant book makes us rethink the meaning of early modern scientific thought as well as the entire fabric of early modern political philosophy and its boundaries. --Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles
From Citizens to Subjects challenges the common assertion in historiography that Enlightenment-era centralization and rationalization brought progress and prosperity to all European states, arguing instead that centralization failed to improve the socioeconomic position of urban residents in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth over a hundred-year period.
Murphy examines the government of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the several imperial administrations that replaced it after the Partitions, comparing and contrasting their relationships with local citizenry, minority communities, and nobles who enjoyed considerable autonomy in their management of the cities of present-day Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. He shows how the failure of Enlightenment-era reform was a direct result of the inherent defects in the reformers' visions, rather than from sabotage by shortsighted local residents. Reform in Poland-Lithuania effectively destroyed the existing system of complexities and imprecisions that had allowed certain towns to flourish, while also fostering a culture of self-government and civic republicanism among city citizens of all ranks and religions. By the mid-nineteenth century, the increasingly immobile post-Enlightenment state had transformed activist citizens into largely powerless subjects without conferring the promised material and economic benefits of centralization.
Geography and Enlightenment
Edited by David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress G70.G4432 1999 | Dewey Decimal 910.9
Geography and Enlightenment explores both the Enlightenment as a geographical phenomenon and the place of geography in the Enlightenment. From wide-ranging disciplinary and topical perspectives, contributors consider the many ways in which the world of the long eighteenth century was brought to view and shaped through map and text, exploration and argument, within and across spatial and intellectual borders.
The first set of chapters charts the intellectual and geographical contexts in which Enlightenment ideas began to form, including both the sites in which knowledge was created and discussed and the different means used to investigate the globe. Detailed explorations of maps created during this period show how these new ways of representing the world and its peoples influenced conceptions of the nature and progress of human societies, while studies of the travels of people and ideas reveal the influence of far-flung places on Enlightenment science and scientific credibility. The final set of chapters emphasizes the role of particular local contexts in Enlightenment thought.
Contributors are Michael T. Bravo, Paul Carter, Denis Cosgrove, Stephen Daniels, Matthew Edney, Anne Marie Claire Godlewska, Peter Gould, Michael Heffernan, David N. Livingstone, Dorinda Outram, Chris Philo, Roy Porter, Nicolaas Rupke, Susanne Seymour, Charles Watkins, and Charles W. J. Withers.
As in the first three volumes of History of Biblical Interpretation, From the Enlightenment to the Twentieth Century surveys the lives and works of significant theologians and lay people, politicians and philosophers, in order to portray the characteristic attitudes of the era. It discusses the philosophers and politicians Hobbes, Locke, and Spinoza and the writers Lessing and Herder. Biblical criticism per se begins with the controversy over the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament and extends into Enlightenment ethics, myth, and miracle stories. Early representatives include Richard Simon and Hermann Samuel Reimarus, followed by Johann Salomo Semler, Johann Jakob Griesbach, Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, and Philipp Jacob Spener. Biblical scholars such as Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette, Ferdinand Christian Baur, Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Julius Wellhausen, Hermann Gunkel, Wilhelm Bousset, Karl Barth, and Rudolf Bultmann round out the volume and bring readers to the twentieth century.
With the introduction of the printing press in England in 1476, a struggle over its control--and its potential for interrupting power--was joined. The written word, once the domain of the upper levels of society that controlled politics, economics, and religion, could be seen passing into the hands of anyone throughout the social strata who wished to voice opinions on any topic of interest or importance. How the advent of printing led to the idea of a free press is the story told by David Copeland in this book, which traces a confrontation that began with issues of religion and gradually expanded into the realm of political freedom.
The rise of a free press was, in many ways, a legacy of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Copeland describes a discourse centered on questions of religion--a discussion that the government, with all its religious authority, could not suppress because of the belief that the ability to reason for oneself was God-given. In this account we see how the debate moved from religion to the purely political sphere, and how, through the increased use of the printing press, it was opened to a multiplicity of voices and opinions. Spanning nearly four centuries in Britain and America, Copeland's book reveals how the tension between government control and the right to debate public affairs openly ultimately led to the idea of a free press; in doing so, it documents an intellectual development of unparalleled relevance and importance to the history of journalism.
The hot-air balloon, invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, launched for the second time just days before the Treaty of Paris would end the American Revolutionary War. The ascent in Paris—a technological marvel witnessed by a diverse crowd that included Benjamin Franklin—highlighted celebrations of French military victory against Britain and ignited a balloon mania that swept across Europe at the end of the Enlightenment. This popular frenzy for balloon experiments, which attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators, fundamentally altered the once elite audience for science by bringing aristocrats and commoners together. The Imagined Empire explores how this material artifact, the flying machine, not only expanded the public for science and spectacle but also inspired utopian dreams of a republican monarchy that would obliterate social boundaries. The balloon, Mi Gyung Kim argues, was a people-machine, a cultural performance that unified and mobilized the people of France, who imagined an aerial empire that would bring glory to the French nation. This critical history of ballooning considers how a relatively simple mechanical gadget became an explosive cultural and political phenomenon on the eve of the French Revolution.
Why is the world orderly, and how does this order come to be? Human beings inhabit a multitude of apparently ordered systems—natural, social, political, economic, cognitive, and others—whose origins and purposes are often obscure. In the eighteenth century, older certainties about such orders, rooted in either divine providence or the mechanical operations of nature, began to fall away. In their place arose a new appreciation for the complexity of things, a new recognition of the world’s disorder and randomness, new doubts about simple relations of cause and effect—but with them also a new ability to imagine the world’s orders, whether natural or manmade, as self-organizing. If large systems are left to their own devices, eighteenth-century Europeans increasingly came to believe, order will emerge on its own without any need for external design or direction.
In Invisible Hands, Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman trace the many appearances of the language of self-organization in the eighteenth-century West. Across an array of domains, including religion, society, philosophy, science, politics, economy, and law, they show how and why this way of thinking came into the public view, then grew in prominence and arrived at the threshold of the nineteenth century in versatile, multifarious, and often surprising forms. Offering a new synthesis of intellectual and cultural developments, Invisible Hands is a landmark contribution to the history of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture.
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 opened the way for enormous change in Persia, heralding the modern era and creating a model for later political and cultural movements in the region. Broad in its scope, this multidisciplinary volume brings together essays from leading scholars in Iranian Studies to explore the significance of this revolution, its origins, and the people who made it happen.
As the authors show, this period was one of unprecedented debate within Iran’s burgeoning press. Many different groups fought to shape the course of the Revolution, which opened up seemingly boundless possibilities for the country’s future and affected nearly every segment of its society. Exploring themes such as the role of women, the use of photography, and the uniqueness of the Revolution as an Iranian experience, the authors tell a story of immense transition, as the old order of the Shah subsided and was replaced by new institutions, new forms of expression, and a new social and political order.
The Irish Enlightenment
Michael Brown Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B802.B76 2016 | Dewey Decimal 941.507
Scotland and England produced well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland’s contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. Michael Brown shows that Ireland also had its Enlightenment, which for a brief time opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, despite a history of sectarian conflict.
Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1826) has long been recognized as the greatest European portrait sculptor of the late eighteenth century, flourishing during both the American and French Revolutions as well as during the Directoire and Empire in France. Whether sculpting a head of state, an intellectual, or a young child, Houdon had an uncanny ability to capture the essence of his subject with a characteristic pose or expression. Yet until now, Houdon's exquisite sculptures have never been the subject of a major exhibition.
This lavish exhibition catalogue will immediately take its rightful place as the definitive work on Houdon. With more than one hundred color plates and two hundred black and white halftones, Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment illustrates every stage of the sculptor's fascinating career, from his early portrayals of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to his stunning portraits of American patriots such as George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Paul Jones, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Indeed the images we hold dear of legendary Enlightenment figures like Diderot, Rousseau, d'Alembert, and Voltaire are based on works by Houdon. More than mere representations, these sculptures provide us fascinating, intimate glimpses into the very core of who these figures were. Houdon's genius animated even his less illustrious subjects, like his portraits of his family and friends, and filled his sculptures of children with delicacy and freshness. Accompanying the images of Houdon's masterworks are four insightful essays that discuss Houdon's views on art (based in part on a newly discovered manuscript written by the artist) as well as his prominence in the highly varied cultures of eighteenth-century France, Germany, and Russia.
From aristocrats to revolutionaries, actors to philosophers, Houdon's amazingly vivid portraits constitute the visual record of the Enlightenment and capture the true spirit of a remarkable age. Jean-Antoine Houdon finally gives these gorgeous works their due.
Julien Offray de la Mettrie, best known as the author of L’Homme machine, appears as a minor character in most accounts of the Enlightenment. But in this intellectual biography by Kathleen Wellman, La Mettrie—physician-philosophe—emerges as a central figure whose medical approach to philosophical and moral issues had a profound influence on the period and its legacy. Wellman’s study presents La Mettrie as an advocate of progressive medical theory and practice who consistently applied his medical concerns to the reform of philosophy, morals, and society. By examining his training with the Dutch physician Hermann Boerhaave, his satires lampooning the ignorance and venality of the medical profession, and his medical treatises on subjects ranging from vertigo to veneral disease, Wellman illuminates the medical roots of La Mettrie’s philosophy. She shows how medicine encouraged La Mettrie to undertake an impiricist critique of the philosophical tradition and provided the foundation for a medical materialism that both shaped his understanding of the possibilities of moral and social reform and led him to espouse the cause of the philosophers. Elucidating the medical view of nature, human beings, and society that the Enlightenment and La Mettrie in particular bequethed to the modern world, La Mettrie makes an important contribution to our understanding of both that period and our own.
This multinational collection of essays challenges the traditional image of a monolingual Ancient Regime in Enlightenment Europe, both East and West. Its archival research explores the important role played by selective language use in social life and in the educational provisions in the early constitution of modern society. A broad range of case studies show how language was viewed and used symbolically by social groups—ranging from the nobility to the peasantry—to develop, express, and mark their identities.
Moses Mendelssohn University of Illinois Press, 2012 Library of Congress BM610.M46 2012 | Dewey Decimal 193
Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) was the central figure in the emancipation of European Jewry. His intellect, judgment, and tact won the admiration and friendship of contemporaries as illustrious as Johann Gottfried Herder, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and Immanuel Kant. His enormously influential Jerusalem (1783) made the case for religious tolerance, a cause he worked for all his life.
Last Works includes, for the first time complete and in a single volume, the English translation of Morning Hours: Lectures on the Existence of God (1785) and To the Friends of Lessing (1786). Bruce Rosenstock has also provided an historical introduction and an extensive philosophical commentary to both texts.
At the center of Mendelssohn's last works is his friendship with Lessing. Mendelssohn hoped to show that he, a Torah-observant Jew, and Lessing, Germany's leading dramatist, had forged a life-long friendship that held out the promise of a tolerant and enlightened culture in which religious strife would be a thing of the past.
Lessing's death in 1781 was a severe blow to Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn wrote his last two works to commemorate Lessing and to carry on the work to which they had dedicated much of their lives. Morning Hours treats a range of major philosophical topics: the nature of truth, the foundations of human knowledge, the basis of our moral and aesthetic powers of judgment, the reality of the external world, and the grounds for a rational faith in a providential deity. It is also a key text for Mendelssohn's readings of Spinoza. In To the Friends of Lessing, Mendelssohn attempts to unmask the individual whom he believes to be the real enemy of the enlightened state: the Schwärmer, the religious fanatic who rejects reason in favor of belief in suprarational revelation.
Germany’s political and cultural past from ancient times through World War II has dimmed the legacy of its Enlightenment, which these days is far outshone by those of France and Scotland. In this book, T. J. Reed clears the dust away from eighteenth-century Germany, bringing the likes of Kant, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Gotthold Lessing into a coherent and focused beam that shines within European intellectual history and reasserts the important role of Germany’s Enlightenment.
Reed looks closely at the arguments, achievements, conflicts, and controversies of these major thinkers and how their development of a lucid and active liberal thinking matured in the late eighteenth century into an imaginative branching that ran through philosophy, theology, literature, historiography, science, and politics. He traces the various pathways of their thought and how one engendered another, from the principle of thinking for oneself to the development of a critical epistemology; from literature’s assessment of the past to the formulation of a poetic ideal of human development. Ultimately, Reed shows how the ideas of the German Enlightenment have proven their value in modern secular democracies and are still of great relevance—despite their frequent dismissal—to us in the twenty-first century.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europeans raised a number of questions about the nature of reality and found their answers to be different from those that had satisfied their forebears. They discounted tales of witches, trolls, magic, and miraculous transformations and instead began looking elsewhere to explain the world around them. In The Limits of Matter, Hjalmar Fors investigates how conceptions of matter changed during the Enlightenment and pins this important change in European culture to the formation of the modern discipline of chemistry.
Fors reveals how, early in the eighteenth century, chemists began to view metals no longer as the ingredients for “chrysopoeia”—or gold making—but as elemental substances, or the basic building blocks of matter. At the center of this emerging idea, argues Fors, was the Bureau of Mines of the Swedish State, which saw the practical and profitable potential of these materials in the economies of mining and smelting.
By studying the chemists at the Swedish Bureau of Mines and their networks, and integrating their practices into the wider European context, Fors illustrates how they and their successors played a significant role in the development of our modern notion of matter and made a significant contribution to the modern European view of reality.
The postcolonial spread of democratic ideals such as freedom and equality has taken place all over the world despite the widespread cultural differences that would seem to inhibit such change. In her new book, Literatures of Liberation: Non-European Universalisms and Democratic Progress, Mukti Lakhi Mangharam questions how these “universalisms” came to be and suggests that these elements were not solely the result of Europe-based Enlightenment ideals. Instead, they also arose in context-specific forms throughout the world (particularly in the Global South), relatively independently from Enlightenment concepts. These translatable yet distinct cognitive frameworks, or “contextual universalisms,” as she argues, were central to the spread of modern democratic principles in response to the relentless expansion of capital.
In this way, she posits that these universalisms reconceptualize democratic ideals not as Western imports into precolonial societies but as regional phenomena tied to local relations of power and resistance. In charting these alternative democratic trajectories, Mangharam examines oft-overlooked regional and vernacular literary forms and provides a fresh approach to current theorizations of postcolonial and world literatures.
Self-styled adventurer, literary wit, philosopher, and statesman of science, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) stood at the center of Enlightenment science and culture. Offering an elegant and accessible portrait of this remarkable man, Mary Terrall uses the story of Maupertuis's life, self-fashioning, and scientific works to explore what it meant to do science and to be a man of science in eighteenth-century Europe.
Beginning his scientific career as a mathematician in Paris, Maupertuis entered the public eye with a much-discussed expedition to Lapland, which confirmed Newton's calculation that the earth was flattened at the poles. He also made significant, and often intentionally controversial, contributions to physics, life science, navigation, astronomy, and metaphysics. Called to Berlin by Frederick the Great, Maupertuis moved to Prussia to preside over the Academy of Sciences there. Equally at home in salons, cafés, scientific academies, and royal courts, Maupertuis used his social connections and his printed works to enhance a carefully constructed reputation as both a man of letters and a man of science. His social and institutional affiliations, in turn, affected how Maupertuis formulated his ideas, how he presented them to his contemporaries, and the reactions they provoked.
Terrall not only illuminates the life and work of a colorful and important Enlightenment figure, but also uses his story to delve into many wider issues, including the development of scientific institutions, the impact of print culture on science, and the interactions of science and government. Smart and highly readable, Maupertuis will appeal to anyone interested in eighteenth-century science and culture.
“Terrall’s work is scholarship in the best sense. Her explanations of arcane 18th-century French physics, mathematics, astronomy, and biology are among the most lucid available in any language.”—Virginia Dawson, American Historical Review
Winner of the 2003 Pfizer Award from the History of Science Society
Imagine that you are an average American man. You work hard and love football. Your present is a highway of unbounded opportunity, your future a far horizon unclouded by doubt. Then comes middle age. Who can you look to when the highway begins to crack, when opportunity shrinks to the size of a cubicle, and the horizon looms close? For Richard J. King, the answer is clear: Tom Brady. The legendary quarterback of the New England Patriots is not just a four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time MVP, and certain Hall of Famer. He is a male epitome. Gifted but humble. Driven but balanced. Aging but youthful. Devoted to both career and family. At the pinnacle of success but somehow still one of us. If anyone can point the way to living a worthy life, Tom Brady can. And so, at the start of the 2013 football season, King sets off in an ’88 Volkswagen minibus in a time-honored quest to answer life’s pressing questions—and to meet his hero. From training camp to the playoffs, from Spy-gate to Deflate-gate, King takes us on a tour of stadiums and bars across the country. Along the way he talks with players, sportswriters, and Patriots management, and poses the existential question, “What would you ask Tom Brady?” Meeting Tom Brady is funny and wise, a memoir of an eventful season in both King’s life and Brady’s—a determined pursuit, with uncertain results.
Early in 1788, Franz Anton Mesmer, a Viennese physician, arrived in Paris and began to promulgate a somewhat exotic theory of healing that almost immediately seized the imagination of the general populace. Robert Darnton, in his lively study of mesmerism and its relation to eighteenth-century radical political thought and popular scientific notions, provides a useful contribution to the study of popular culture and the manner in which ideas are diffused down through various social levels.
In The Mountain, geographers Bernard Debarbieux and Gilles Rudaz trace the origins of the very concept of a mountain, showing how it is not a mere geographic feature but ultimately an idea, one that has evolved over time, influenced by changes in political climates and cultural attitudes. To truly understand mountains, they argue, we must view them not only as material realities but as social constructs, ones that can mean radically different things to different people in different settings.
From the Enlightenment to the present day, and using a variety of case studies from all the continents, the authors show us how our ideas of and about mountains have changed with the times and how a wide range of policies, from border delineation to forestry as well as nature protection and social programs, have been shaped according to them. A rich hybrid analysis of geography, history, culture, and politics, the book promises to forever change the way we look at mountains.
Nothing is considered more natural than the connection between Isaac Newton’s science and the modernity that came into being during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Terms like “Newtonianism” are routinely taken as synonyms for “Enlightenment” and “modern” thought, yet the particular conjunction of these terms has a history full of accidents and contingencies. Modern physics, for example, was not the determined result of the rational unfolding of Newton’s scientific work in the eighteenth century, nor was the Enlightenment the natural and inevitable consequence of Newton’s eighteenth-century reception. Each of these outcomes, in fact, was a contingent event produced by the particular historical developments of the early eighteenth century.
A comprehensive study of public culture, The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment digsbelow the surface of the commonplace narratives that link Newton with Enlightenment thought to examine the actual historical changes that brought them together in eighteenth-century time and space. Drawing on the full range of early modern scientific sources, from studied scientific treatises and academic papers to book reviews, commentaries, and private correspondence, J. B. Shank challenges the widely accepted claim that Isaac Newton’s solitary genius is the reason for his iconic status as the father of modern physics and the philosophemovement.
The Enlightenment was the age in which the world became modern, challenging tradition in favor of reason, freedom, and critical inquiry. While many aspects of the Enlightenment have been rigorously scrutinized—its origins and motivations, its principal characters and defining features, its legacy and modern relevance—the geographical dimensions of the era have until now largely been ignored. Placing the Enlightenment contends that the Age of Reason was not only a period of pioneering geographical investigation but also an age with spatial dimensions to its content and concerns.
Investigating the role space and location played in the creation and reception of Enlightenment ideas, Charles W. J. Withers draws from the fields of art, science, history, geography, politics, and religion to explore the legacies of Enlightenment national identity, navigation, discovery, and knowledge. Ultimately, geography is revealed to be the source of much of the raw material from which philosophers fashioned theories of the human condition.
Lavishly illustrated and engagingly written, Placing the Enlightenment will interest Enlightenment specialists from across the disciplines as well as any scholar curious about the role geography has played in the making of the modern world.
David Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought to show how new ideas about politics, ethics, and economics stepped into a gap opened up by religious conflict and the Scientific Revolution. As ideas about godliness and Aristotelian virtue faded, theories about the rational pursuit of power, pleasure, and profit moved to the fore.
Tony C. Brown examines “the inescapable yet infinitely troubling figure of the not-quite-nothing” in Enlightenment attempts to think about the aesthetic and the savage. The various texts Brown considers—including the writings of Addison, Rousseau, Kant, and Defoe—turn to exotic figures in order to delimit the aesthetic, and to aesthetics in order to comprehend the savage.
In his intriguing exploration Brown discovers that the primitive introduces into the aesthetic and the savage an element that proves necessary yet difficult to conceive. At its most profound, Brown explains, this element engenders a loss of confidence in one’s ability to understand the human’s relation to itself and to the world. That loss of confidence—what Brown refers to as a breach in anthropological security—traces to an inability to maintain a sense of self in the face of the New World. Demonstrating the impact of the primitive on the aesthetic and the savage, he shows how the eighteenth-century writers he focuses on struggle to define the human’s place in the world. As Brown explains, these authors go back again and again to “exotic” examples from the New World—such as Indian burial mounds and Maori tattooing practice—making them so ubiquitous that they come to underwrite, even produce, philosophy and aesthetics.
Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. This volume offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality—from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants—Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a pioneering community of Christian scholars laid the groundwork for the modern Western understanding of Islamic civilization. These men produced the first accurate translation of the Qur’an into a European language, mapped the branches of the Islamic arts and sciences, and wrote Muslim history using Arabic sources. The Republic of Arabic Letters reconstructs this process, revealing the influence of Catholic and Protestant intellectuals on the secular Enlightenment understanding of Islam and its written traditions.
Drawing on Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, and Latin sources, Alexander Bevilacqua’s rich intellectual history retraces the routes—both mental and physical—that Christian scholars traveled to acquire, study, and comprehend Arabic manuscripts. The knowledge they generated was deeply indebted to native Muslim traditions, especially Ottoman ones. Eventually the translations, compilations, and histories they produced reached such luminaries as Voltaire and Edward Gibbon, who not only assimilated the factual content of these works but wove their interpretations into the fabric of Enlightenment thought.
The Republic of Arabic Letters shows that the Western effort to learn about Islam and its religious and intellectual traditions issued not from a secular agenda but from the scholarly commitments of a select group of Christians. These authors cast aside inherited views and bequeathed a new understanding of Islam to the modern West.
Since antiquity, philosophy and rhetoric have traditionally been cast as rivals, with the former often lauded as a search for logical truth and the latter usually disparaged as empty speech. But in this erudite intellectual history, Nancy S. Struever stakes out a claim for rhetoric as the more productive form of inquiry.
Struever views rhetoric through the lens of modality, arguing that rhetoric’s guiding interest in what is possible—as opposed to philosophy’s concern with what is necessary—makes it an ideal tool for understanding politics. Innovative readings of Hobbes and Vico allow her to reexamine rhetoric’s role in the history of modernity and to make fascinating connections between thinkers from the classical, early modern, and modern periods. From there she turns to Walter Benjamin, reclaiming him as an exemplar of modernist rhetoric and a central figure in the long history of the form. Persuasive and perceptive, Rhetoric, Modality, Modernity is a novel rewriting of the history of rhetoric and a heady examination of the motives, issues, and flaws of contemporary inquiry.
Empiricism today implies the dispassionate scrutiny of facts. But Jessica Riskin finds that in the French Enlightenment, empiricism was intimately bound up with sensibility. In what she calls a "sentimental empiricism," natural knowledge was taken to rest on a blend of experience and emotion.
Riskin argues that sentimental empiricism brought together ideas and institutions, practices and politics. She shows, for instance, how the study of blindness, led by ideas about the mental and moral role of vision and by cataract surgeries, shaped the first school for the blind; how Benjamin Franklin's electrical physics, ascribing desires to nature, engaged French economic reformers; and how the question of the role of language in science and social life linked disputes over Antoine Lavoisier's new chemical names to the founding of France's modern system of civic education.
Recasting the Age of Reason by stressing its conjunction with the Age of Sensibility, Riskin offers an entirely new perspective on the development of modern science and the history of the Enlightenment.
Though the public may retain a hoary image of the lone scientific or philosophical genius generating insights in isolation, scholars discarded it long ago. In reality, the families of scientists and philosophers in the Enlightenment played a substantial role, not only making space for inquiry within the home but also assisting in observing, translating, calculating, and illustrating.
Sentimental Savants is the first book to explore the place of the family among the savants of the French Enlightenment, a group that openly embraced their families and domestic lives, even going so far as to test out their ideas—from education to inoculation—on their own children. Meghan K. Roberts delves into the lives and work of such major figures as Denis Diderot, Émilie Du Châtelet, the Marquis de Condorcet, Antoine Lavoisier, and Jérôme Lalande to paint a striking portrait of how sentiment and reason interacted in the eighteenth century to produce not only new kinds of knowledge but new kinds of families as well.
Spinoza’s Modernity is a major, original work of intellectual history that reassesses the philosophical project of Baruch Spinoza, uncovers his influence on later thinkers, and demonstrates how that crucial influence on Moses Mendelssohn, G. E. Lessing, and Heinrich Heine shaped the development of modern critical thought. Excommunicated by his Jewish community, Spinoza was a controversial figure in his lifetime and for centuries afterward. Willi Goetschel shows how Spinoza’s philosophy was a direct challenge to the theological and metaphysical assumptions of modern European thought. He locates the driving force of this challenge in Spinoza’s Jewishness, which is deeply inscribed in his philosophy and defines the radical nature of his modernity.
In this hermeneutic analysis of seven literary texts, Stephanie Barbé Hammer studies the roles of criminal protagonists in the dramas of George Lillo (The London Merchant) and Friedrich Schiller (The Robbers) and in the narratives of Abbé de Prévost (Manon Lescaut), Henry Fielding (Jonathan Wild), Marquis de Sade (Justine), William Godwin (Caleb Williams), and Heinrich von Kleist (Michael Kohlhaas).
Hammer reflects the current interest in cultural critique by utilizing the social theories of Michel Foucault and the feminist approaches of Hélène Cixous and Eve Sedgwick to redefine the Enlightenment as a movement of thought rather than as a strictly defined period synonymous with the eighteenth century. In addition, through the examination of the works of three post–World War II authors (Jean Genet, Anthony Burgess, and Peter Handke), Hammer suggests that the Enlightenment’s artistic representations of criminality are unparalleled by subsequent modern literature.
Hammer explains that the seven works she focuses on have been dismissed as failures by readers who have misunderstood the texts’ aesthetic elements. While claiming that the form of these works breaks down under the pressure of their criminal protagonists, she asserts that this formal failure actually contributes to the success of the works as art. The works "fail" because, like the criminal characters themselves, they break laws. The criminal protagonist effectively sabotages the official story that the text seeks to tell by deflecting the plot, style, and formal requirements in question, subverting its message—be it moral, sentimental, or libertine— through a kind of structural undermining, forcing the text beyond its own formal boundaries. For example, Hammer maintains that the presence of the criminal figure, Millwood, in Lillo’s bourgeois tragedy actually makes the play covertly antibourgeois.
Hammer insists that the criminal’s subversive presence in these seven works inaugurates new insight, and her analysis thereby challenges late twentieth-century readers to continue the investigation that the works themselves have begun.
This book will prove indispensable to scholars of comparative literature, especially eighteenth-century specialists, as well as to all individuals interested in cultural critique.
This Is Enlightenment
Edited by Clifford Siskin and William Warner University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress B802.T468 2010 | Dewey Decimal 190.9033
Debates about the nature of the Enlightenment date to the eighteenth century, when Imanual Kant himself addressed the question, “What is Enlightenment?” The contributors to this ambitious book offer a paradigm-shifting answer to that now-famous query: Enlightenment is an event in the history of mediation. Enlightenment, they argue, needs to be engaged within the newly broad sense of mediation introduced here—not only oral, visual, written, and printed media, but everything that intervenes, enables, supplements, or is simply in between.
With essays addressing infrastructure and genres, associational practices and protocols, this volume establishes mediation as the condition of possibility for enlightenment. In so doing, it not only answers Kant’s query; it also poses its own broader question: how would foregrounding mediation change the kinds and areas of inquiry in our own epoch? This Is Enlightenment is a landmark volumewith the polemical force and archival depth to start a conversation that extends across the disciplines that the Enlightenment itself first configured.
Sophus A. Reinert Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress HB83.R45 2011 | Dewey Decimal 330.1094
Historians have traditionally turned to free trade and laissez faire to explain the development of political economy during the Enlightenment. Reinert argues that economic emulation was the prism through which philosophers, ministers, reformers, and merchants thought about imperialism, economics, industry, and reform in the early modern period.
Wild Enlightenment charts the travels of the figure of the wild man, in each of his guises, through the invented domain of the bourgeois public sphere. We follow him through the discursive networks of novels, broadsheets, pamphlets, and advertisements and through their material locations at fair booths, the Royal Society, Court, and Parliament. He leads us on in various disguises: as Tyson's Orang-Outang, Swift's Yahoos, and Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Yet Richard Nash is not primarily telling a story of the English gentleman abroad in the realm of the wild man; instead Nash explores the wild man abroad in the realm of the English gentleman. His is the tale of the wild man as complex alter ego to the idealized abstraction of "the citizen of the Enlightenment."
Nash eloquently argues that following the movements of the wild man through the public sphere helps illuminate the process by which an abstract figure comes to constitute human nature. He contends that expressions such as wild man and noble savage operated as much more than metaphors: if anything, the trajectory was not one of a metaphor being taken literally but rather of the extant terminology's actually shaping preconceptions by which real beings were observed and recognized by Europeans. Throughout his account, Nash insists on attending to the traffic between literary accounts
and real material beings.
Shifting perspective from the thematic approach of intellectual history to a more eclectic cultural criticism, Nash introduces a refreshing means to understanding both the figures of the wild man and the citizen of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century.
Richard Nash, Associate Professor of English at Indiana University, is the author of John Craige's Mathematical Principles of Christian Theology.
This study looks at the lives of the most famous "wild children" of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. Julia V. Douthwaite recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angélique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized.
A variety of educational experiments failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their stories, Douthwaite turns to literature that reflects on similar experiments to perfect human subjects. Her examples range from utopian schemes for progressive childrearing to philosophical tales of animated statues, from revolutionary theories of regenerated men to Gothic tales of scientists run amok. Encompassing thinkers such as Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, and Mary Shelley, Douthwaite shows how the Enlightenment conceived of mankind as an infinitely malleable entity, first with optimism, then with apprehension. Exposing the darker side of eighteenth-century thought, she demonstrates how advances in science gave rise to troubling ethical concerns, as parents, scientists, and politicians tried to perfect mankind with disastrous results.
This is a book about a box that contained the world. The box was the Picture Academy for the Young, a popular encyclopedia in pictures invented by preacher-turned-publisher Johann Siegmund Stoy in eighteenth-century Germany. Children were expected to cut out the pictures from the Academy, glue them onto cards, and arrange those cards in ordered compartments—the whole world filed in a box of images.
As Anke te Heesen demonstrates, Stoy and his world in a box epitomized the Enlightenment concern with the creation and maintenance of an appropriate moral, intellectual, and social order. The box, and its images from nature, myth, and biblical history, were intended to teach children how to collect, store, and order knowledge. te Heesen compares the Academy with other aspects of Enlightenment material culture, such as commercial warehouses and natural history cabinets, to show how the kinds of collecting and ordering practices taught by the Academy shaped both the developing middle class in Germany and Enlightenment thought. The World in a Box, illustrated with a multitude of images of and from Stoy's Academy, offers a glimpse into a time when it was believed that knowledge could be contained and controlled.