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The Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment
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Book description

The Enlightenment has long been seen as synonymous with the beginnings of modern Western intellectual and political culture. As a set of ideas and a social movement, this historical moment, the 'age of reason' of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, is marked by attempts to place knowledge on new foundations. The Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment brings together essays by leading scholars representing disciplines ranging from philosophy, religion and literature, to art, medicine, anthropology and architecture, to analyse the French Enlightenment. Each essay presents a concise view of an important aspect of the French Enlightenment, discussing its defining characteristics, internal dynamics and historical transformations. The Companion discusses the most influential reinterpretations of the Enlightenment that have taken place during the last two decades, reinterpretations that both reflect and have contributed to important re-evaluations of received ideas about the Enlightenment and the early modern period more generally.

Reviews

'Daniel Brewer, a leading expert on the French Age of Enlightenment, has edited a volume aimed at offering a complete overview and introduction not just to the eighteenth century and its ideas, but also to the historiographical construction of the concept of the Enlightenment … [this book] will be a very useful resource and reference for students, whilst representing for scholars a most welcome synthesis of the debates on the Enlightenment from the 1789 Revolution onwards, as well as a timely update on what the Enlightenment is considered to be today.'

Richard Langer Source: Forum for Modern Language Studies

'This stimulating collection of essays examines the French Enlightenment from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. … for more advanced students this Companion will be an invaluable and irreplaceable guide to the most prominent re-evaluations of the French Enlightenment over the last two decades.'

Nicholas Cronk Source: French Studies

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