When i agreed to contribute to this issue, i wanted to focus a debate about periodization for once solely on foreign languages and not, as is usually the case, on a single foreign language in comparison with English. To do this, I intended to take a new look at one of the most successful examples of the new periodization: the long eighteenth century. The concept first came to the fore and gained wide critical currency in English studies and in history. In these fields, a number of differently long eighteenth centuries have been proposed and practiced—an eighteenth century that begins as early as 1660, for example, and one that ends as late as 1832. Among the many consequences of the various choices of chronological limits for the long eighteenth century, probably the most significant is the way in which the Enlightenment's role is heightened or diminished in each version of the period. Since in intellectual and literary terms the Enlightenment's impact was felt all over western Europe in the 1700s, I decided that this should be one issue of periodization whose presence would be by now visible in most if not all modern foreign languages. As it turned out, I could not have been more wrong. And what I learned on the way to that realization caused me to shift course radically.