The Age of Enlightenment
(or simply the
) is a term used to describe a time
in Western philosophy
cultural life, centred upon the eighteenth century, in which
was advocated as the primary
source and legitimacy
more or less simultaneously in Germany, France, Great
Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and
Portugal, and buoyed
by the North American colonist' successful rebellion against
Great Britain in the American War of Independence,
the culmination of the movement spread through much of Europe, including the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth, Russia and Scandinavia, along with Latin America and instigating the Haitian Revolution.
It has been
argued that the signatories of the American Declaration of
, the United States Bill of Rights
the French Declaration
of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
, and the
Polish-Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, 1791
were motivated by "Enlightenment" principles.
Use of the term
The term "Enlightenment" came into use in English
during the mid-nineteenth century,
with particular reference to French philosophy, as the equivalent
of a term then in use by German
writers, Zeitalter der Aufklärung
, signifying generally
the philosophical outlook of the eighteenth century. However, the
German term Aufklärung
was not merely applied
retrospectively; it was already the common term by 1784, when
influential essay "Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?
The terminology "Enlightenment" or "Age of Enlightenment" does not
represent a single movement or school of thought, for these
philosophies were often mutually contradictory or divergent. The
Enlightenment was less a set of ideas than it was a set of values.
At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions,
customs, and morals. Thus, there was still a considerable degree of
similarities between competing philosophies. Also, some philosophical schools of the
could not be considered part of the Enlightenment at
all. Some classifications of this period also include the late
seventeenth century, which is typically known as the Age of Reason
or Age of Rationalism.
There is no consensus on when to date the start of the age of
Enlightenment, and some scholars simply use the beginning of the
eighteenth century or the middle of the seventeenth century as a
default date. If taken back to the mid-1600s, the Enlightenment
would trace its origins to Descartes
' Discourse on the Method
published in 1637. Others define the Enlightenment as beginning in
Britain's Glorious Revolution
1688 or with the publication of Isaac
which first appeared in 1687. As to its end,
some scholars use the French
of 1789 or the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars
(1804–15) as a convenient
point in time with which to date the end of the
Historian Peter Gay
Enlightenment broke through "the sacred circle," whose dogma had
circumscribed thinking. The Enlightenment is held to be the source
of critical ideas, such as the centrality of freedom
, and reason
primary values of society. This view argues that the establishment
of a contractual basis of rights would lead to the market mechanism
, the scientific method
, religious tolerance
, and the organization of states into
self-governing republics through democratic means. In this view,
the tendency of the philosophes
in particular to apply rationality to every problem is considered
the essential change.
No brief summary can do justice to the diversity of enlightened
thought in 18th-century Europe. Because it was a value system
rather than a set of shared beliefs, there are many contradictory
trains to follow. In his famous essay "What is Enlightenment?
described it simply as
freedom to use one's own intelligence. More broadly, the
Enlightenment period is marked by increasing empiricism, scientific
rigor, and reductionism, along with increasing questioning of
A variety of 19th-century movements, including liberalism
, traced their intellectual
heritage back to the Enlightenment.
Social and cultural interpretation
In opposition to the intellectual historiographical approach of the
Enlightenment, which examines the various currents, or discourses
of intellectual thought within the European context during the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the cultural (or social)
approach examines the changes that occurred in European society and
culture. Under this approach, the Enlightenment is less a
collection of thought than a process of changing sociabilities and
cultural practices – both the “content” and the processes by which
this content was spread are now important. Roger Chartier
describes it as follows:
One of the primary elements of the cultural interpretation of the
Enlightenment is the rise of the public
in Europe. Jürgen
has influenced thinking on the public sphere more than
any other, though his model is increasingly called into question.
The essential problem that Habermas attempted to answer concerned
the conditions necessary for “rational, critical, and genuinely
open discussion of public issues”. Or, more simply, the social
conditions required for Enlightenment ideas to be spread and
discussed. His response was the formation in the late seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries of the “bourgeois public sphere”, a “realm
of communication marked by new arenas of debate, more open and
accessible forms of urban public space and sociability, and an
explosion of print culture". More specifically, Habermas highlights
three essential elements of the public sphere: it was egalitarian;
it discussed the domain of "common concern"; and it was "in
James Van Horn Melton
a good summary of the values of this bourgeois public sphere: its
members held reason to be supreme; everything was open to criticism
(the public sphere is critical); and its participants opposed
secrecy of all sorts. This helps explain what Habermas meant by the
domain of "common concern". Habermas uses the term to describe
those areas of political/social knowledge and discussion that were
previously the exclusive territory of the state and religious
authorities, now open to critical examination by the public
Habermas credits the creation of the bourgeois public sphere to two
long-term historical trends: the rise of the modern nation state
and the rise of capitalism. The modern nation state in its
consolidation of public power created by counterpoint a private
realm of society independent of the state – allowing for the public
sphere. Capitalism likewise increased society’s autonomy and
self-awareness, along with creating an increasing need for the
exchange of information. As the nascent public sphere expanded, it
embraced a large variety of institutions, the most commonly cited
being coffee houses and cafés, salons and the literary public
sphere, figuratively localized in the Republic of Letters.
Dorinda Outram provides a more nuanced description of the rise of
the public sphere. The context of the rise of the public sphere was
the economic and social changed commonly grouped under the effects
of the Industrial Revolution
"economic expansion, increasing urbanisation, rising population and
improving communications in comparison to the stagnation of the
previous century". Rising efficiency in production techniques and
communication lowered the prices of consumer goods at the same time
as it increased the amount and variety of goods available to
consumers (including the literature essential to the public
sphere). Meanwhile, the colonial experience (most European states
had colonial Empires in the eighteenth century) began to expose
European society to extremely heterogeneous cultures. Outram writes
that the end result was the breaking down of "barriers between
cultural systems, religious divides, gender differences and
geographical areas". In short, the social context was set for the
public sphere to come into existence.
The Habermasian model has been criticized on all fronts by
historians. That it was bourgeois is contradicted by the many
examples of noble and lower class participation in areas such as
the coffeehouses and the freemasonic lodges. That it was
independent and critical of the state is contradicted by the
diverse cases of government-sponsored public institutions and
government participation in debate, along with the cases of private
individuals using public venues to promote the status quo.
How public was the public sphere?
The word “public” implies the highest level of inclusivity – the
public sphere by definition should be open to all. However, as the
analysis of many “public” institutions of the Enlightenment will
show, this sphere was only public to relative degrees. Indeed, as
Roger Chartier emphasizes, Enlightenment thinkers frequently
contrasted their conception of the “public” with that of the
people: Chartier cites Condorcet
contrasted “opinion” with populace; Marmontel
with “the opinion of
men of letters” versus “the opinion of the multitude”; and d’Alembert
, who contrasted the “truly
enlightened public with “the blind and noisy multitude”. As Mona
Ozouf underlines, public opinion was defined in opposition to the
opinion of the greater population. While the nature of public
opinion during the Enlightenment is as difficult to define as it is
today, it is nonetheless clear that the body that held it (ie. the
public sphere) was exclusive rather than inclusive. This
observation will become more apparent during the descriptions of
the institutions of the public sphere, most of which excluded both
women and the lower classes.
Note: This list is by no means exhaustive.The general requirements
for a public institution were the following:
- It had to be relatively inclusive (ie. Public). Most of the
institutions listed either were egalitarian or created hierarchies
that contrasted with social hierarchies.
- It had to participate in the “public” spread of information,
often with normative intentions.
- It had to allow for potentially critical thought.
For example, using these standards, the London debating societies
were part of the public sphere, because they were inclusive and
egalitarian, they spread information, and they promoted critical
The history of Academies in France during the Enlightenment begins
with the Academy of Science, founded in 1666 in Paris. From the
beginning, the Academy was closely tied to the French state, acting
as an extension of a government seriously lacking in scientists.
Beyond serving the monarchy, the Academy had two primary purposes:
it helped promote and organize new disciplines, and it trained new
scientists. It also contributed to the enhancement of scientists’
social status, considered them to be the “most useful of all
citizens". Academies demonstrate the rising interest in science
along with its increasing secularization, as evidenced by the small
amount of clerics who were members (13 percent).
The presence of the French academies in the public sphere cannot be
attributed to their membership; although the majority of their
members were bourgeois, the exclusive institution was only open to
elite Parisian scholars. That being said, they did perceive
themselves to be “interpreters of the sciences for the people”.
Indeed, it was with this in mind that academians took it upon
themselves to disprove the popular pseudo-science of mesmerism
However, the strongest case for the French Academies being part of
the public sphere comes the concours académiques (roughly
translated as academic contests) they sponsored throughout France.
As Jeremy L. Caradonna argues in a recent article in the
, “Prendre part au siècle des Lumières: Le concours
académique et la culture intellectuelle au XVIIIe siècle”, these
academic contests were perhaps the most public of any institution
during the Enlightenment.
revived a practice dating back to the Middle
Ages when it revived public contests in the mid-seventeenth
century. The subject manner was generally religious and/or
monarchical, and featured essays, poetry, and painting. By roughly
1725, however, this subject matter had radically expanded and
diversified, including “royal propaganda, philosophical battles,
and critical ruminations on the social and political institutions
of the Old Regime.” Controversial topics were not always avoided:
Caradonna cites as examples the theories of Newton and Descartes,
the slave trade, women's education, and justice in France.
More importantly, the contests were open to all, and the enforced
anonymity of each submission guaranteed that neither gender nor
social rank would determine the judging. Indeed, although the “vast
majority” of participants belonged to the wealthier strata of
society (“the liberal arts, the clergy, the judiciary, and the
medical profession”), there were some cases of the popular classes
submitting essays, and even winning.
Similarly, a significant number of women participated –and won –
the competitions. Of a total of 2 300 prize competitions offered in
France, women won 49 – perhaps a small number by modern standards,
but very significant in an age in which most women did not have any
academic training. Indeed, the majority of the winning entries were
for poetry competitions, a genre commonly stressed in women’s
In England, the Royal Society of
also played a significant role in the public sphere and
the spread of Enlightenment ideas. In particular, it played a large
role in spreading Robert Boyle's
around Europe, and acted as a clearinghouse for intellectual
correspondence and exchange. As Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer
have argued, Robert Boyle was "a founder of the experimental world
in which scientists now live and operate". Boyle's method based
knowledge on experimentation, which had to be witnessed to provide
proper empirical legitimacy. This is where the Royal Society came
into play: witnessing had to be a "collective act", and the Royal
Society's assembly rooms were ideal locations for relatively public
demonstrations. However, not just any witness was considered to be
credible; "Oxford professors were accounted more reliable witnesses
than Oxfordshire peasants." Two factors were taken into account: a
witness's knowledge in the area; and a witness's "moral
constitution". In other words, only civil society were considered
for Boyle's public.
The book industry
The increased consumption of reading materials of all sorts was one
of the key features of the “social” Enlightenment. Developments in
the Industrial Revolution
allowed consumer goods to be produced in greater quantities at
lower prices, encouraging the spread of books, pamphlets,
newspapers and journals – “media of the transmission of ideas and
attitudes”. Commercial development likewise increased the demand
for information, along with rising populations and increased
urbanisation. However, demand for reading material extended outside
of the realm of the commercial, and outside the realm of the upper
and middle classes, as evidenced by the Bibliothèque Bleue.
Literacy rates are difficult to gauge, but Robert Darnton writes
that, in France at least, the rates doubled over the course of the
Reading underwent serious changes in the eighteenth century. In
particular, Rolf Engelsing has argued for the existence of a
“reading revolution”. Until 1750, reading with done “intensively:
people tended to own a small number of books and read them
repeatedly, often to small audience. After 1750, people began to
read “extensively”, finding as many books as they could,
increasingly reading them alone. On the other hand, as Jonathan
Israel writes, Gabriel Naudé was already campaigning for the
“univerisal” library in the mid-seventeenth century. And if this
was an ideal only realistic for state institutions and the very
wealthy (and indeed, an ideal that was seldom achieved), there are
records for extremely large private and state-run libraries
throughout Europe in the seventeenth and
Of course, the vast majority of the reading public could not afford
to own a private library. And while most of the state-run
“universal libraries” set up in the seventeenth- and
eighteenth-centuries were open to the public, they were not the
only sources of reading material.
On one end of the spectrum was the Bibliothèque Bleue
collection of cheaply produced books published in Troyes, France.
Intended for a largely rural and semi-literate audience these books
included almanacs, retellings of medieval romances and condensed
versions of popular novels, among other things. While historians,
such as Roger Chartier and Robert Darnton, have argued against the
Enlightenment’s penetration into the lower classes, the
Bibliothèque Bleue, at the very least, represents a desire to
participate in Enlightenment sociability, whether or not this was
Moving up the classes, a variety of institutions of readers access
to material without needing to buy anything. Libraries that lent
out their material for a small price started to appear, and
occasionally bookstores would offer a small lending library to
their patrons. Coffee houses commonly offered books, journals and
sometimes even popular novels to their customers. The Tatler
and The Spectator
, two influential
periodicals sold from 1709 to 1714, were closely associated with
coffee house culture in London, being both read and produced in
various establishments in the city. Indeed, this is an example of
the triple or even quadruple function of the coffee house: reading
material was often obtained, read, discussed and even produced on
As Darnton describes in The Literary Underground of the Old
, it is extremely difficult to determine what people
actually read during the Enlightenment. For example, examining the
catalogues of private libraries not only gives an image skewed in
favour of the classes wealthy enough to afford libraries, it also
ignores censured works unlikely to be publicly acknowledged. For
this reason, Darnton argues that a study of publishing would be
much more fruitful as to hypothesizing reading habits.
All across continental Europe, but in France especially, book
sellers and publishers had to negotiate censorship laws of varying
strictness. The Encyclopédie, for example,
narrowly escaped seizure and had to be saved by Malesherbes, the man in charge of the French censure.
Indeed, many publishing companies were conveniently located outside
of France as to avoid overzealous French censors. They would
smuggle their clandestine merchandise – both pirated copies and
censured works – across the border, where it would then be
transported to clandestine book sellers or small-time
Darnton provides a detailed record of one clandestine bookseller’s
(one de Mauvelain) business in the town of Troyes. At the time, the
town’s population was 22 000. It had one masonic lodge and an
“important” library, though the literacy rate seems to have been
less than 50 percent. Mauvelain’s records give us a good
representation of what literate Frenchmen might have truly read,
since the clandestine nature of his business provided a less
restrictive product choice. The most popular category of books was
political (319 copies ordered). This included five copies of
D’Holbach’s Système social
, but around 300 libels and
pamphlets. Readers were far more interested in sensationalist
stories about criminals and political corruption than they were in
political theory itself. The second most popular category, “general
works” (those books “that did not have a dominant motif and that
contained something to offend almost everyone in authority”)
likewise betrayed the high demand for generally low-brow subversive
literature. These works, however, like the vast majority of work
produced by Darnton’s “grub street hacks”, never became part of
literary canon, and are largely forgotten today as a result.
Nevertheless, the Enlightenment was not the exclusive domain of
illegal literature, as evidenced by the healthy, and mostly legal,
publishing industry that existed throughout Europe. “Mostly legal”
because even established publishers and book sellers occasionally
ran afoul of the law. The Encyclopédie, for example, condemned not
only by the King but also by Clement XII, nevertheless found its
way into print with the help of the aforementioned Malesherbes and
creative use of French censorship law.
But many works were sold without running into any legal trouble at
all. Borrowing records from libraries in England, Germany and North
America indicate that more than 70 percent of books borrowed
were novels; that less than 1 percent of the books were of a
religious nature supports a general trend of declining
A genre that greatly rose in importance was that of scientific
literature. Natural history in particular became increasingly
popular among the upper classes. Works of natural history include
René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur’s Histoire naturelle des
and Jacques Gautier d’Agoty’s La Myologie
complète, ou description de tous les muscles du corps humain
(1746). However, as François-Alexandre Aubert de La Chesnaye des
Bois’s Dictionnaire de la Noblesse
natural history was very often a political affair. As E. C. Spary
writes, the classifications used by naturalists “slipped between
the natural world and the social ... to establish not only the
expertise of the naturalists over the natural, but also the
dominance of the natural over the social”. From this basis,
naturalists could then develop their own social ideals based on
their scientific works.
The target audience of natural history was French polite society,
evidenced more by the specific discourse of the genre than by the
generally high prices of its works. Naturalists catered to polite
society’s desire for erudition – many texts had an explicit
instructive purpose. But the idea of taste (le goût
the real social indicator: to truly be able to categorize nature,
one had to have the proper taste, an ability of discretion shared
by all members of polite society. In this way natural history
spread many of the scientific development of the time, but also
provided a new source of legitimacy for the dominant class.
The many scientific and literary journals (predominantly composed
of book reviews) that were published during this time are also
evidence of the intellectual side of the Enlightenment. In fact,
Jonathan Israel argues that the learned journals, from the 1680s
onwards, influenced European intellectual culture to a greater
degree than any other “cultural innovation”.
The first journal appeared in 1665– the Parisian Journal des
– but it was not until 1682 that periodicals began to
be more widely produced. French and Latin were the dominant
languages of publication, but there was also a steady demand for
material in German and Dutch. There was generally low demand for
English publications on the Continent, which was echoed by
England’s similar lack of desire for French works. Languages
commanding less of an international market – such as Danish,
Spanish and Portuguese – found journal success more difficult, and
more often than not, a more international language was used
instead. Although German did have an international quality to it,
it was French that slowly took over Latin’s status as the
circles. This in turn gave precedence to the publishing industry in
Holland, where the vast majority of these French language
periodicals were produced.
Israel divides the journals’ intellectual importance into four
elements. First was their role in shifting the attention of the
“cultivate public” away from “established authorities” to “what was
new, innovative, or challenging”. Secondly, they did much to
promote the “‘enlightened’ ideals of toleration and intellectual
objectivity”. Thirdly, the journals were an implicit critique of
existing notions of universal truth monopolized by monarchies,
parliaments, and religious authorities. The journals suggested a
new source of knowledge – through science and reason – that
undermined these sources of authority. And finally, they advanced
the “Christian Enlightenment”, a notion of Enlightenment that,
despite its advocacy for new knowledge sources, upheld “the
legitimacy of God-ordained authority.”
The Republic of Letters and Grub Street
The term "Republic of Letters" was coined by Pierre Bayle
in 1664, in his journal
Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres
. Towards the end of
the eighteenth century, the editor of Histoire de la République
des Lettres en France
, a literary survey, described the
Republic of Letters as being:
In the midst of all the governments that decide the
fate of men; in the bosom of so many states, the majority of them
despotic ... there exists a certain realm which holds sway only
over the mind ... that we honour with the name Republic, because it
preserves a measure of independence, and because it is almost its
essence to be free. It is the realm of talent and of
The ideal of the Republic of Letters was the sum of a number of
Enlightenment ideals: an egalitarian realm governed by knowledge
that could act across political boundaries and rival state power.
It was a forum that supported "free public examination of questions
regarding religion or legislation". Immanuel Kant considered
written communication essential to his conception of the public
sphere; once everyone was a part of the "reading public", then
society could be said to be enlightened. The people who
participated in the Republic of Letters, such as Diderot
frequently known today as important Enlightenment figures. Indeed,
the men who wrote Diderot's Encyclopédie
arguably formed a
microcosm of the larger "republic".
Dena Goodman has argued that women played a major role in French
to complement the male
. Discursively, she bases the Republic of
Letters in polite conversation and letter writing; its principal
social institution was the salon.
Robert Darnton's The Literary Underground of the Old
was the first major historical work to critique this
ideal model. He argues that, by the mid-eighteenth century, the
established men of letters (gens de lettres
) had fused
with the elites (les grands
) of French society. Consider
the definition of "Goût" (taste) as written by Voltaire
in the Dictionnaire philosophique
(taken from Darnton): "Taste is like philosophy. It belongs to a
very small number of privileged souls ... It is unknown in
bourgeois families, where one is constantly occupied with the care
of one's fortune". In the words of Darnton, Voltaire "thought that
the Enlightenment should begin with the grands
historian cites similar opinions from d'Alembert
and Louis Sébastien Mercier
Darnton argues that the result of this "fusion of gens de
" was the creation of an
oppositional literary sphere, Grub Street, the domain of a
"multitude of versifiers and would-be authors". These men, lured by
the glory of the Republic of Letters, came to Paris to become
authors, only to discover that their dreams of literary success
were little more than chimeras. The literary market simply could
not support large numbers of writers, who, in any case, were very
poorly remunerated by publishing-bookselling guilds. The writers of
Grub Street, the Grub Street Hacks, were left feeling extremely
bitter about the relative success of their literary cousins, the
men of letters.
This bitterness and hatred found an outlet in the literature the
Grub Street Hacks produced, typified by the libelle
Written mostly in the form of pamphlets, the libelles
"slandered the court, the church, the aristocracy, the academies,
the salons, everything elevated and respectable, including the
monarchy itself". Darnton designates Le Gazetier cuirassé
by Charles Théveneau de Morande as the prototype of the genre.
The devout wife of a certain Maréchal de France (who
suffers from an imaginary lung disease), finding a husband of that
species too delicate, considers it her religious duty to spare him
and so condemns herself to the crude caresses of her butler, who
would still be a lackey if he hadn't proven himself so
The public is warned that an epidemic disease is raging
among the girls of the Opera, that is has begun to reach the ladies
of the court, and that it has even been communicated to their
lackeys. This disease elongates the face, destroys the complexion,
reduces the weight, and causes horrible ravages where it becomes
situated. There are lades without teeth, others without eyebrows,
and some are completely paralyzed.
It was Grub Street literature that was most read by the reading
public during the Enlightenment. More importantly, Darnton argues,
the Grub Street hacks inherited the "revolutionary spirit" once
displayed by the philosophes
, and paved the way for the
Revolution by desacralizing figures of political, moral and
religious authority in France.
The first English coffeehouse, named Angel
established in Oxford, by a certain Jewish entrepreneur named
Jacob, in 1650. Brian Cowan argues that Oxford coffeehouses
developed into "penny
", offering a locus of learning that was less
formal than structured institutions. These penny universities
occupied a significant position in Oxford academic life, as they
were frequented by virtuosi, who conducted their research on the
premises. According to Cowan, "the coffeehouse was a place for
like-minded scholars to congregate, to read, as well as learn from
and to debate with each other, but was emphatically not a
university institution, and the discourse there was of a far
different order than any university tutorial.”
coffee had been known in France since the 1640s, it was Francesco Procopio dei
Coltelli – François Procope – who established the first café in
Paris, the Café
Procope, in 1686.
Although it took coffee a while to
become popular, by the 1720s there were around 400 cafés in the
city. The Café Procope in particular became a centre of
Enlightenment, welcoming such names as Voltaire
later on, Marat
during the Revolution. The Café Procope was also
decided to create the
Like the coffeehouse in England, the café in France was a varied
affaire. If the Café Procope represented a high class institution,
on the end of the spectrum, Louis Sebastien Mercier
affiliation between cafés and prostitution: using prostitutes, army
recruiters would lure young unsuspecting men into cafés, where they
would then be forced or otherwise tricked into joining up. The
general trend in Parisian cafés across the eighteenth century was
popularization, helped by lower coffee prices. Indeed, Mercier
wrote towards the end of the eighteenth century that “it is no
longer decent to stay in a café, because it announces a dearth of
acquaintances and an absolute void of good society”, although he
was probably referring to the majority of cafés rather than every
The cafés earned their place in the public sphere due to the
conversation that took place within them. Robert Darnton
in particular has studied
Parisian café conversation in great detail. He describes how the
cafés were one of the various “nerve centers” for bruits
, public noise or rumour. These bruits
allegedly a much better source of information than were the actual
newspapers available at the time.
An example of a French Salon
The Debating Societies that rapidly came into existence in 1780
London present an almost perfect example of the public sphere
during the Enlightenment. Donna T. Andrew provides four separate
- Clubs of fifty or more men who, at the beginning of the
eighteenth century, met in pubs to discuss religious issues and
affairs of state.
- Mooting clubs, set up by law students to practice
- Spouting clubs, established to help actors train for theatrical
- William Henley’s Oratory, which mixed outrageous sermons with
even more absurd questions, like “Whether Scotland be anywhere in
In any event, popular debating societies began, in the late 1770s,
to move into more “genteel”, or respectable rooms, a change which
helped establish a new standard of sociability: “order, decency,
and liberality”, in the words of the Religious Society of Old
Portugal Street. Respectability was also encouraged by the higher
admissions prices (ranging from 6d. to 3s.), which also contributed
to the upkeep of the newer establishments. The backdrop to these
developments was what Andrew calls “an explosion of interest in the
theory and practice of public elocution”. The debating societies
were commercial enterprises that responded to this demand,
sometimes very successfully. Indeed, some societies welcomed from
800 to 1200 spectators a night.
These societies discussed an extremely wide range of topics. One
broad area was women: societies debated over “male and female
qualities”, courtship, marriage, and the role of women in the
public sphere. Societies also discussed political issues, varying
from recent events to “the nature and limits of political
authority”, and the nature of suffrage. Debates on religion rounded
out the subject matter. It is important to note, however, that the
critical subject matter of these debates did not necessarily
translate into opposition to the government. In other words, the
results of the debate quite frequently upheld the status quo.
From a historical standpoint, one of the most important features of
the debating society was their openness to the public; women
attended and even participated in almost every debating society,
which were likewise open to all classes providing they could pay
the entrance fee. Once inside, spectators were able to participate
in a largely egalitarian form of sociability that helped spread
The “cult of Enlightenment” for its devotees, freemasonic lodges
originated from English and Scottish stonemasonic guilds
in the seventeenth century.
In the eighteenth century, they expanded into an extremely
widespread collection of interconnected (to varying degrees) men’s,
and occasionally women’s, associations with their own mythologies
and special codes of conduct. These included a communal
understanding of liberty and egality inherited from guild
sociability – “liberty, fraternity, and equality”. The remarkable
similarity between these values, which were generally common in
Britain as on the Continent, and the French Revolutionary slogan of
“liberté, égalité et fraternité” spawned many conspiracy theories.
Notably, Abbé Barruel
origins of the Jacobins
hence the Revolution – to the French freemasons.
Freemasonry was officially established in Europe in 1734, when a
lodge was set up in The Hague, although the first “fully formed
lodge” appears to have met in 1721 in Rotterdam. Similarly, there
are records of a Parisian lodge meeting in 1725 or 1726. As Daniel
Roche writes, freemasonry was particularly prevalent in France – by
1789, there were perhaps as many as 100 000 French Masons, making
Freemasonry the most popular of all Enlightenment associations.
Freemasonry does not appear to have been confined to Western
Europe, however, as Margaret Jacob writes of lodges in Saxony in
1729 and in Russia in 1731.
Conspiracy theories aside, it is likely that masonic lodges had an
effect on society as a whole. Jacob argues that they “reconstituted
the polity and established a constitutional form of
self-government, complete with constitutions and laws, elections
and representatives”. In other words, the micro-society set up
within the lodges constituted a normative model for society as a
whole. This was especially true on the Continent: when the first
lodges began to appear in the 1730s, their embodiment of British
values was often seen as threatening by state authorities. For
example, the Parisian lodge that met in the mid 1720s was composed
of English Jacobite
Furthermore, freemasons all across Europe made reference to the
Enlightenment in general in the eighteenth century. In French
lodges, for example, the line “As the means to be enlightened I
search for the enlightened” was a part of their initiation rites.
British lodges assigned themselves the duty to “initiate the
unenlightened”. This did not necessarily link lodges to the
irreligious, but neither did this exclude them from the occasional
heresy. In fact, many lodges worshiped the Grand Architect, the
masonic deity of a scientifically ordered universe.
On the other hand, Daniel Roche contests freemasonry’s claims for
egalitarianism, writing that “the real equality of the lodges was
elitist”, only attracting men of similar social backgrounds. This
lack of real equality was made explicit by the constitution of the
Lausanne Switzerland lodge (1741):
The order of freemasons is a society of confraternity
and equality, and to this end is represented under the emblem of a
level ... a brother renders to another brother the honour and
deference that is justly due him in proportion to his rank in the
Elitism was beneficial for some members of society. The presence,
for example, of noble women in the French “lodges of adoption” that
formed in the 1780s was largely due to the close ties shared
between these lodges and aristocratic society.
A historiographical overview
its origins from the period itself, from what "Enlightenment
figures" thought about themselves. Although their opinions
naturally varied, a dominant element was the intellectual angle
they took. D'Alembert's Preliminary
Discourse of l'Encyclopédie
provides a history of the
Enlightenment which comprises a chronological list of developments
in the realm of knowledge – of which the Encyclopédie
forms the pinnacle. A
more philosophical example of this was the 1783 essay contest (in
itself an activity typical of the Enlightenment) announced by the
Berlin newspaper Berlinische Monatsschrift
, which asked
that very question: “What is Enlightenment?” Jewish philosopher
was among those
who responded, referring to Enlightenment as a process by which man
was educated in the use of reason. Immanuel Kant
also wrote a response, referring
to Enlightenment as “man's release from his self-incurred
tutelage”, tutelage being “man's inability to make use of his
understanding without direction from another”. This intellectual
model of interpretation has been adopted by many historians since
the eighteenth century, and is perhaps the most commonly used
Dorinda Outram provides a good example of a standard, intellectual
definition of the Enlightenment:
As a historical period, it is bounded by the lives of two great
philosophers: Gottfried Wilhem
(1646–1716) and Immanuel
Like the French Revolution
Enlightenment has “long been hailed as the foundation of modern
Western political and intellectual culture”. Not surprisingly then,
it has been frequently linked to the Revolution of 1789. However,
as Roger Chartier points out, it was perhaps the Revolution that
“invented the Enlightenment by attempting to root its legitimacy in
a corpus of texts and founding authors reconciled and united ... by
their preparation of a rupture with the old world”. In other words,
the revolutionaries elevated to heroic status those philosophers,
such as Voltaire
, who could be used to justify their
radical break with the Old Regime
. In any
case, two nineteenth-century historians of the Enlightenment,
and Alexis de Tocqueville
, did much to
solidify this link of Enlightenment causing revolution and the
intellectual perception of the Enlightenment itself.
In his l Régime
(1876), Hippolyte Taine
traced the roots of the
French Revolution back to French
. However, this was not without the help of the
“scientific view of the world [of the Enlightenment]”, which wore
down the “monarchical and religious dogma of the old regime”. In
other words then, Taine was only interested in the Enlightenment
insofar as it advanced scientific discourse and transmitted what he
perceived to be the intellectual legacy of French classicism.
Alexis de Tocqueville
a more elaborate picture of the Enlightenment in L'Ancien
Régime et la Révolution
(1850). For de Tocqueville, the
Revolution was the inevitable result of the radical opposition
created in the eighteenth century between the monarchy and the men
of letters of the Enlightenment. These men of letters constituted a
sort of “substitute aristocracy that was both all-powerful and
without real power”. This illusory power came from the rise of
“public opinion”, born when absolutist centralization removed the
nobility and the bourgeosie from the political sphere. The
“literary politics” that resulted promoted a discourse of equality
and was hence in fundamental opposition to the monarchical
From a historiographical point of view, de Tocqueville presents an
interesting case. He was primarily concerned with the workings of
political power under the Old Regime and the philosophical
principles of the men of letters. However, there is a distinctly
social quality to his analysis. In the words of Chartier, de
Tocqueville “clearly designates ... the cultural effects of
transformation in the forms of the exercise of power”.
Nevertheless, for a serious cultural approach, one has to wait
another century for the work of historians such as Robert Darnton
(The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the
Encyclopédie, 1775-1800 – published in 1979).
In the meantime, though, intellectual history remained the dominant
historiographical trend. Ernst
is a perfect example, writing in his The
Philosophy of the Enlightenment
(1932 – English translation
1951) that the Enlightenment was “ a part and a special phase of
that whole intellectual development through which modern
philosophic thought gained its characteristic self-confidence and
self-consciousness”. Borrowing from Kant, he states that
Enlightenment was/is the process by which the spirit “achieves
clarity and depth in its understanding of its own nature and
destiny, and of its own fundamental character and mission”. In
short, the Enlightenment was a series of philosophical, scientific
and otherwise intellectual developments that took place mostly in
the eighteenth century – the birthplace of intellectual
Only in the 1970s did interpretation of the Enlightenment allow for
a more heterogeneous and even extra-European vision. A. Owen
demonstrated how Enlightenment ideas spread to Spanish
colonies and how they interacted with indigenous cultures, while
Franco Venturi explored how the Enlightenment took place in
normally unstudied areas – Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Poland,
Hungary, and Russia.
More than any other, however it is Robert
who most radically changed Enlightenment
historiography. Consider, for example, the following citation from
The Literary Underground of the Old Regime
“Perhaps the Enlightenment was a more down-to-earth
affair than the rarefied climate of opinion described by textbook
writers, and we should question the overly highbrow, overly
metaphysical view of intellectual life in the eighteenth
Indeed, in this book, Darnton examines the underbelly of the French
book industry in the eighteenth century, examining the world of
book smuggling and the lives of those writers (the “Grub Street
Hacks”) who never met the success of their philosophe
cousins. In short, rather than
concerning himself with Enlightenment canon, Darnton studies “what
Frenchmen wanted to read”, and who wrote, published and distributed
it.Similarly, in The Business of Enlightenment. A
Publishing History of the Encyclopédie 1775-1800
states that there is no need to further study the encyclopedia
itself, as “the book has been analyzed and anthologized dozen of
times: to recapitulate all the studies of its intellectual content
would be redundant”. He instead, as the title of the book suggests,
examines the social conditions that brought about the production of
. This is representative of the social
interpretation as a whole – an examination of the social conditions
that brought about Enlightenment ideas rather than a study of the
The work of Jürgen Habermas
central to this emerging social interpretation, although his
seminal work The Structural Transformation of the Public
(published under the title Strukturwandel der
in 1962) was only translated into English in
1989. The book outlines the creation of the “bourgeois public
sphere” in eighteenth century Europe. Essentially, this public
sphere describes the new venues and modes of communication allowing
for rational exchange that appeared in the eighteenth century.
Habermas argued that the public sphere was bourgeois, egalitarian,
rational, and independent from the state, making it the ideal venue
for intellectuals to critically examine contemporary politics and
society, away from the interference of established authority.
Habermas's work, though influential, has come under criticism on
all fronts. While the public sphere is generally an integral
component of social interpretations of the Enlightenment, numerous
historians have brought into question whether the public sphere was
bourgeois, oppositional to the state, independent from the state,
These historiographical developments have done much to open up the
study of Enlightenment to a multiplicity of interpretations. In
A Social History of Truth
(1994), for example, Steven
Shapin makes the largely sociological argument that, in
seventeenth-century England, the mode of sociability known as
civility became the primary discourse of truth; for a statement to
have the potential to be considered true, it had to be expressed
according to the rules of civil society.
Feminist interpretations have also appeared, with Dena Goodman
being one notable example. In The Republic of Letters: A
Cultural History of the French Enlightenment
argues that many women in fact played an essential part in the
French Enlightenment, due to the role they played as
in Parisians salons. These salons “became the
civil working spaces of the project of Enlightenment” and women, as
salonnières, were “the legitimate governors of [the] potentially
unruly discourse” that took place within. On the other hand, Carla
Hesse, in The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became
(2001), argues that “female participation in the public
cultural life of the Old Regime was ... relatively marginal”. It
was instead the French Revolution, by destroying the old cultural
and economic restraints of patronage and corporatism (guilds), that
opened French society to female participation, particularly in the
All this is not to say that intellectual interpretations no longer
exist. Jonathan Israel, for example, in Enlightenment
Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man,
(2006), constructs an argument that is primarily
intellectual in scope. Like many historians before him, he sets the
Enlightenment within the context of the French Revolution to
follow. Israel argues that only an intellectual interpretation can
adequately explain the radical break with Old Regime society.
- Thomas Abbt (1738–1766)
German. would later be called nationalism in Vom Tode für's Vaterland
(On dying for one's nation).
- Jean le Rond d'Alembert
(1717–1783) French. Mathematician and physicist, one of
the editors of Encyclopédie.
- Balthasar Bekker (1634–1698)
Dutch, a key figure in the Early Enlightenment. In his
book De Philosophia Cartesiana (1668) Bekker argued that theology
and philosophy each had their separate terrain and that Nature can
no more be explained from Scripture than can theological truth be
deduced from Nature.
- Pierre Bayle (1647–1706)
French. Literary critic known for Nouvelles de la
république des lettres and Dictionnaire historique et
critique, and one of the earliest influences on the
Enlightenment thinkers to advocate tolerance between the difference
- Cesare Beccaria
Italian. Best known for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments
- George Berkeley Irish.
Philosopher and mathematician famous for developing the theory of
- Justus Henning Boehmer
(1674–1749), German ecclesiastical jurist, one of the first
reformer of the church law and the civil law which was basis for
further reforms and maintained until the 20th century.
- James Boswell (1740–1795)
Scottish. Biographer of Samuel
Johnson, helped established the norms for writing biography in general.
(1707–1788) French. Author of L'Histoire
Naturelle who considered Natural
Selection and the similarities between humans and apes.
- Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
Irish. Parliamentarian and political philosopher, best
known for pragmatism, considered important to both liberal and conservative thinking.
- James Burnett Lord
Monboddo (1714–1799) Scottish. Philosopher, jurist, pre-evolutionary
thinker and contributor to linguistic
evolution. See Scottish Enlightenment
- Dimitrie Cantemir (1673–1723)
Romanian. Philosopher, historian, composer, musicologist,
linguist, ethnographer, and geographer. He was a member of the
Royal Academy of Berlin. His
most important works were History of
the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire and Descriptio Moldavie.
- Marquis de Condorcet
(1743–1794) French. Philosopher, mathematician, and early
political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet
- Ekaterina Dashkova
- José Celestino Mutis
(1755–1808), Spanish botanist and mathematician, lead the
first botanic expeditions to South America, and built a major
collection of plants.
- Denis Diderot (1713–1784)
French. Founder of the Encyclopédie, speculated
on free will and attachment to material
objects, contributed to the theory of literature.
- Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
American. Statesman, scientist, political philosopher,
pragmatic deist, author. As a philosopher known for his writings on
nationality, economic matters, aphorisms published in Poor
Richard's Almanac and polemics in favour of American
Independence. Involved with writing the United States
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 1787.
- Bernard le Bovier de
Hupay de Fuveau,(1746–1818), writer and philosopher who had
used for the first time in 1785 the word "communism" in a doctrinal
- Edward Gibbon (1737–1794)
English. Historian best known for his Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe is closely identified with Enlightenment values,
progressing from Sturm und
Drang and participating with Schiller in the movement of Weimar Classicism.
- Olympe de Gouges
- Joseph Haydn
- Johann Gottfried von
Herder German. Theologian and linguist. Proposed that
language determines thought, introduced concepts of ethnic study
and nationalism, influential on later Romantic thinkers. Early
supporter of democracy and republican self
- Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) English
philosopher, who wrote Leviathan, a key text in political
- Baron d'Holbach (1723–1789)
French. Author, encyclopaedist and Europe's first outspoken
atheist. Roused much controversy over his
criticism of religion as a whole in his work The System of Nature.
- Robert Hooke (1635–1703)
English, probably the leading experimenter of his age,
Curator of Experiments for the Royal Society. Performed the work
which quantified such concepts as Boyle's
Law and the inverse-square nature of gravitation, father of the
science of microscopy.
- David Hume (1711–1776)
Scottish. Historian, philosopher and economist. Best known
for his empiricism and scientific scepticism, advanced
doctrines of naturalism and
material causes. Influenced Kant and Adam Smith.
- Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
American. Statesman, political philosopher, educator,
deist. As a philosopher best known for the United States
Declaration of Independence (1776) and his interpretation
of the United States
Constitution (1787) which he pursued as president. Argued
for natural rights as the basis of all states, argued that
violation of these rights negates the contract which bind a people
to their rulers and that therefore there is an inherent "Right to
- Gaspar Melchor de
Jovellanos (1744–1811), Main figure of the Spanish
Enlightenment. Preeminent statesman.
- Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
German. Philosopher and physicist. Established critical philosophy on a systematic
basis, proposed a material theory for the origin of the solar
system, wrote on ethics and morals. Prescribed a politics of
Enlightenment in What is
Enlightenment? (1784). Influenced by Hume and Isaac
Newton. Important figure in German Idealism, and important to the
work of Fichte and Hegel.
- Hugo Kołłątaj
(1750–1812) Polish. He was active in the Commission for National
Education and the Society for Elementary Textbooks, and
reformed the Kraków Academy,
of which he was rector in 1783–86. He co-authored the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth's Constitution of May 3, 1791, and
founded the Assembly of Friends of the Government Constitution to
assist in the document's implementation.
Krasicki (1735–1801): Polish.
Leading poet of the Polish
Enlightenment, hailed by contemporaries as "the Prince of
Poets." After the 1764 election of Stanisław August
Poniatowski as King of
Poland, Krasicki became the new King's confidant and chaplain.
He participated in the King's famous "Thursday dinners" and co-founded the
preeminent periodical of the Polish
Enlightenment sponsored by the King. He is remembered
especially for his Fables and
- Antoine Lavoisier
- Gottfried Leibniz Inventor of
Calculus as we know it today and wrote Protogea, amongst
other scientific and philosophical works.
- Gotthold Ephraim
Lessing (1729–1781) German. Dramatist, critic,
political philosopher. Created theatre in the German language,
began reappraisal of Shakespeare to being a central figure, and the
importance of classical dramatic norms as being crucial to good
dramatic writing, theorized that the centre of political and
cultural life is the middle class.
- Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) Swedish
botanist, physician and zoologist who laid the foundations for the
modern scheme of Binomial
- John Locke (1632–1704)
English Philosopher. Important empiricist who expanded and
extended the work of Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes. Seminal
thinker in the realm of the relationship between the state and the
individual, the contractual basis of the state and the rule of law.
Argued for personal liberty emphasizing the rights of property, its this emphasis the American
constitution owes much to. Among those of whom his writings
influenced were Scottish
Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American
revolutionaries. This influence is reflected in the American
Declaration of Independence.
- Mikhail Lomonosov
- James Madison (1751–1836)
American. Statesman and political philosopher. Played a
key role in the writing of the United States Constitution and
providing a theoretical justification for it in his contributions
to The Federalist Papers.
de Melo, Marquis of Pombal (1699–1782) Portuguese statesman
notable for his swift and competent leadership in the aftermath of
the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. He also implemented sweeping economic
policies to regulate commercial activity and standardize quality
throughout the country. The term Pombaline is used to describe not
only his tenure, but also the architectural style which formed
after the great earthquake.
Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro (1676–1764) Spanish, was
the most prominent promoter of the critical empiricist attitude at
the dawn of the Spanish Enlightenment. See also the Spanish Martín Sarmiento.
(1689–1755) French political thinker. He is famous for his
articulation of the theory of separation of powers, taken for
granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many
constitutions all over the world.
Fernández de Moratín (1760–1828) Spanish. Dramatist
and translator, support of republicanism and free thinking. Transitional
figure to Romanticism.
- Wolfgang Amadeus
- Nikolay Novikov (1744–1818)
Russian. Philanthropist and journalist who sought to raise
the culture of Russian readers and publicly argued with the
Empress. See Russian
Enlightenment for other prominent figures.
- Dositej Obradović
(1742–1811) Serbian. Writer, philosopher and linguist and
one of the most influential proponents of Serbian national and
- Thomas Paine (1737–1809)
English. Pamphleteer, Deist, and polemicist, most famous
for Common Sense
attacking England's domination of the colonies in America. The
pamphlet was key in fomenting the American Revolution. Also wrote
The Age of Reason which
remains one of the most persuasive critiques of the Bible ever
written, his writings (mainly Age of Reason and
Rights of Man) made Americans
study their religion, their behaviors, and the ruling hierarchy.
His work "The Rights of Man" was written in defense of the French
Revolution and is the classic example of the Enlightenment
arguments in favor of classical liberalism.
- Francois Quesney (1694–1774)
French economist of the Physiocratic school. He also practiced
- Thomas Reid (1710–1796)
Scottish. Presbyterian minister and Philosopher.
Contributed greatly to the idea of Common-Sense philosophy and was
Hume's most famous contemporary critic. Best known for his An Inquiry Into The Human
Mind. Heavily influenced William James.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(1712–1778) Swiss political philosopher. Argued that the basis of
morality was conscience, rather than reason, as most other
philosophers argued. He wrote Du Contrat Social, in which
Rousseau claims that citizens of a state must take part in creating
a 'social contract' laying out the state's ground rules in order to
found an ideal society in which they are free from arbitrary power.
His rejection of reason in favor of the "Noble Savage" and his
idealizing of ages past make him truly fit more into the romantic
philosophical school, which was a reaction against the
enlightenment. He largely rejected the individualism inherent in
classical liberalism, arguing that the general will overrides the
will of the individual.
- Mikhailo Shcherbatov
- Adam Smith (1723–1790) Scottish
economist and philosopher. He wrote The Wealth of Nations, in which
he argued that wealth was not money in itself, but wealth was
derived from the added value in manufactured items produced by both
invested capital and labour. He is sometimes considered to be the
founding father of the laissez-faire
economic theory, but in fact argues for some degree of government
control in order to maintain equity. Just prior to this he wrote
Theory of Moral
Sentiments, explaining how it is humans function and
interact through what he calls sympathy, setting up
important context for The Wealth of Nations.
- Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677)
Dutch, philosopher who is considered to have laid the
groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment.
- Stanisław August
Poniatowski (1732–98), the last king of independent Poland, a
leading light of the Enlightenment in the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth, and co-author of one of the world's first modern
constitutions, the Constitution of May 3,
- Emanuel Swedenborg
(1688–1772) Natural philosopher and theologian whose search for the
operation of the soul in the body led him to construct a detailed
metaphysical model for spiritual-natural causation.
- Alexis de Tocqueville
- François-Marie Arouet
(pen name Voltaire) (1694–1778) French
Enlightenment writer, essayist, deist and philosopher. He
wrote several books, the most famous of which is Dictionnaire Philosophique, in
which he argued that organized religion is pernicious. He was the
Enlightenment's most vigorous antireligious polemicist, as well as
being a highly well known advocate of intellectual freedom.
- Adam Weishaupt (1748–1830)
German who founded the Order of the Illuminati.
- John Wilkes
- Christian Wolff (1679–1754)
- Mary Wollstonecraft
(1759–1797) British writer, philosopher, and feminist.
- John Locke claims in his book, The Second Treatise of
Government, that man was endowed with reason and hence has the
right to decide the form of government that he should be under,
while Jean Jacques Rousseau claims that reason is what has led man
astray from the state of happiness and bliss that he led under
- Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edn (revised)
- James Van Horn Melton, The Rise of the Public in
Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
- Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the
Public Sphere, translated by Thomas Burger with the assistance
of Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press,
1989), 36, 37.
- Melton, 8.
- Melton, 4, 5. Habermas, 14–26.
- Outram, 15, 16.
- Chartier, 27.
- Daniel Roche, France in the Enlightenment, translated
by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
- Roche, 515, 516.
- Jeremy L. Caradonna, “Prendre part au siècle des Lumières: Le
concours académique et la culture intellectuelle au XVIIIe siècle”,
Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales, vol.64 (mai-juin
2009), n.3, 633–662.
- Caradonna, 634–636.
- Caradonna, 653–654.
- Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and
Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Chicago; London:
University of Chicago Press, 1994.
- Steven Shapin and SImon Schaffer, Leviathan and the
Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1985), 5, 56, 57. This same desire for
multiple witnesses led to attempts at replication in other
locations and a complex iconography and literary technology
developed to provide visual and written proof of experimentation.
See pages 59–65.
- Shapin and Schaffer, 58, 59.
- Outram, 17, 20.
- Darnton, "The Literary Underground", 16.
- from Outram, 19. See Rolf Engelsing, “Die Perioden der
Lesergeschichte in der Neuzeit. Das statische Ausmass und die
Soziokulturelle Bedeutung der Lektür”, Archiv fûr Gerschichte des
Buchwesens, 10 (1969), cols. 944–1002 and Der Bürger als Leser:
Lesergeschichte in Deutschland, 1500-1800 (Stuttgart, 1974).
- Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the
Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford; New York: Oxford
University Press, 2001) 120.
- Outram, 27–29
- Erin Mackie, The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from
The Tatler and The Spectator (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's,
- See Mackie, Darnton, An Early Information Society
- In particular, see Chapter 6, “Reading, Writing and
- See Darnton, The Literary Underground, 184.
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 135–147.
- Darnton, The Business of Enlightenment, 12, 13. For a
more detailed description of French censorship laws, see Darnton,
The Literary Underground
- Outram, 21.
- Emma Spary, "The 'Nature' of Enlightenment" in The Sciences
in Enlightened Europe, William Clark, Jan Golinski, and Steven
Schaffer, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 281,
- See Thomas Laqueur, Making sex: body and gender from the
Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
- Spary, 289–293.
- Israel, Radical Enlightenment, 142.
- Israel, Radical Enlightenment, 143, 144.
- Israel, Radical Enlightenment, 150, 151.
- Chartier, 26.
- Chartier, 26, 26. Kant, "What is Enlightenment?"
- Outram, 23.
- Goodman, 3.
- Darnton's work focusses primarily on the French Enlightenment.
As a result, the conclusions that he draws generally cannot,
without further research, be applied to other socio-cultural
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 13.
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 13, 17.
- Crébillon fils, quoted from Darnton, The Literary
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 19, 20.
- Darnton, "The Literary Underground", 21, 23.
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 29
- Citations from Darnton, The Literary Underground, 30,
- Outram, 22.
- Darnton, The Literary Underground, 35–40.
- Cowan, 90, 91.
- Colin Jones, Paris: Biography of a City (New York:
Viking, 2004), 188, 189.
- Louis-Sebastien Mercier, Panorama of Paris, ed. Jeremy
D. Popkin (Pennsylvania State Press, 1999), 221.
- Melton, 238.
- Quotation taken from W. Scott Haine, The World of the Paris
Café (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996),
- Robert Darnton, An Early Information Society: News and the
Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris, The American Historical Review.
- This section is based on Donna T. Andrew, “Popular Culture and
Public Debate: London 1780”, This Historical Journal, Vol.
39, No. 2. (June 1996), pp. 405–423.
- Andrew, 406
- From Andrew, 408.
- Andrew, 406–408, 411.
- Andrew, 412–415.
- Andrew, 422.
- This section is largely based on Margaret C. Jacob’s seminal
work on Enlightenment freemasonry, Margaret C. Jacob, Living the
Enlightenment: Free masonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century
Europe, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
- Jacob, 35.
- Jacob, 49.
- Jacob, 75, 89.
- Roche, 436.
- Jacob, 90.
- Jacob, 20, 73, 89.
- Jacob, 145–147.
- Roche, 437.
- Quotation taken from Jacob, 147.
- Jacob, 139. See also Janet M. Burke, “Freemasonry, Friendship
and Noblewomen: The Role of the Secret Society in Bringing
Enlightenment Thought to Pre-Revolutionary Women Elites”, History
of European Ideas 10 no. 3 (1989): 283–94.
- The basic structure of this section has being borrowed in part
from Dorinda Outram, “What is Enlightenment?”, The
Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
- Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Discours préliminaire de
- Outram, 1. The past tense is used deliberately as whether man
would educate himself or be educated by certain exemplary figures
was a common issue at the time. D’Alembert’s introduction to
l’Encyclopédie, for example, along with Immanuel Kant’s essay
response (the “independent thinkers”), both support the later
- Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?", 1.
- Outram, 3.
- Daniel Brewer, The Enlightenment Past: reconstructing
eighteenth-century French thought (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2008), 1.
- Roger Chartier, The Cultural Origins of the French
Revolution, Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane (Duke University
Press, 1991), 5.
- From Taine's letter to Boutmy of 31 July 1874, taken from
- Chartier, 8. See also Alexis de Tocqueville, L'Ancien
Régime et la Révolution, 1850, Book Three, Chapter One.
- Chartier, 13.
- Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment,
translated by Fritz. C. A. Koellin and James P. Pettegrove
(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1951),
- Outram, 6. See also, A. Owen Alridge (ed.), The
Ibero-American Enlightenment (Urbana, IL., 1971)., Franco
Venturi, The End of the Old Regime in Europe 1768-1776: The
First Crisis, translated by R. Burr Litchfield (Princeton,
1989), Europe des lumières traduction de Françoise Braudel
(Paris: Mouton & Co., 1971).
- Robert Darnton, The Literary Underground of the Old
Regime (Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1982), 2.
- Darnton, The Literary Underground ..., 2.
- Robert Darnton, The Business of Enlightenment. A Publishing
History of the Encyclopédie 1775-1800 (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1979), 5.
- For example, Robert Darnton, Roger Chartier, Brian Cowan, Donna
- Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History
of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,
- Carla Hesse, The Other Enlightenment: How French Women
Became Modern (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001),
- Jonathan Israel, Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy,
Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man, 1670-1752 (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2006), 4.
- D'Alembert, Jean le
Rond, Discours préliminaire de l'Encyclopédie.
- Aldridge, A. Owen (ed.). The Ibero-American
Enlightenment. Urbana, IL., 1971.
- Andrew, Donna T.. "Popular Culture and Public Debate: London
1780". The Historical Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2. (June
1996), pp 405–423.
- Brewer, Daniel. The
Enlightenment Past: reconstructing eighteenth-century French
thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
- Bronner, Stephen Eric.
Interpreting the Enlightenment: Metaphysics, Critique, and
- Bronner, Stephen Eric.
The Great Divide: The Enlightenment and its Critics
- Brown, Stuart, (ed.). British Philosophy in the Page of
- Buchan, James. Crowded with
Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh's Moment of the
- Campbell, R.s. and Skinner, A.S., (eds.) The Origins and Nature
of the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh, 1982
- Cassirer, Ernst. The
Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press
- Chartier, Roger. The Cultural
Origins of the French Revolution. Translated by Lydia G.
Cochrane. Duke University Press, 1991.
- Cowan, Brian. The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergency of
the British Coffeehouse. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University
- Darnton, Robert. The Business
of Enlightenment. A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie
1775-1800. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979.
- Darnton, Robert. The Literary
Underground of the Old Regime. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
- Davidson, Ian. Voltaire in Exile: The Last Years,
1753-78, paperback ed. London: Atlantic, 2005.
- Diderot, Denis. Rameau's
Nephew and First Satire. Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press, 2008.
- Dieterle, Bernard and Engel,
Manfred (eds.). The Dream and the Enlightenment / Le Rêve
et les Lumières. Paris: Honoré Champion 2003, ISBN
- Dupre, Louis. The Enlightenment
& the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture 2004
- Foucault, Michel. What is Enlightenment?
- Gay, Peter. The Enlightenment: An
Interpretation. New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
- Goodman, Dena. The Republic of
Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment.
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the
Public Sphere. Translated by Thomas Burger with the assistance
of Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press,
- Hesse, Carla. The Other
Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2001.
- Greensides F, Hyland P, Gomez O (ed.). "The Enlightenment"
- Herman, Arthur.
How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of how
Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in
- Hill, Jonathan. Faith in the Age of Reason,
Lion/Intervarsity Press 2004
- Himmelfarb, Gertrude.
The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American
- Hulluing, Mark. Autocritique of Enlightenment: Rousseau and
the Philosophes 1994
- Jacob, Margaret Enlightenment: A Brief History with
- Israel, Jonathan. Radical Enlightenment: A Publishing
History of the Encyclopédie, 1775-1800. Oxford; New York:
Oxford University Press, 2001.
- Israel, Jonathan. Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy,
Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man, 1770-1752. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Kors, Alan Charles (ed.).
Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. 4 volumes. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2003
- Kant, Immanuel. "What is
- Lilti, Antoine. Le monde des salons: Sociabilité et
mondanité à Paris au XVIIIe siècle. Faynard,
- Melamed, Yitzhak Y. Salomon Maimon and the Rise of
Spinozism in German Idealism, Journal of the History of
Philosophy, Volume 42, Issue 1
- Melton, James Van Horn. The Rise of the Public in
Enlightenment Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
- Munck, Thomas. Enlightenment: A Comparative Social History,
1721–1794 England. Chicago: University of Chicago
- Outram, Dorinda. “What is Enlightenment?”, The
Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
- Porter, Roy. The
- Redkop, Benjamin. The Enlightenment and Community,
- Roche, Daniel. France in the
Enlightenment. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1998.
- Shapin, Steven. A Social History of Truth: Civility and
Science in Seventeenth-Century
- Taine, Hippolyte. The French
- de Tocqueville, Alexis.
The Ancien Régime and the Revolution.
- Venturi, Franco. The End of the Old Regime in Europe
1768-1776: The First Crisis. Translated by R. Burr Litchfield.
- Venturi, Franco. Europe des lumières. Traduction de
Françoise Braudel. Paris: Mouton & Co., 1971.
- Venturi, Franco. Utopia and Reform in the
Enlightenment. George Macaulay Trevelyan Lecture, (Cambridge
University Press, 1971)