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Enlightenment past and present : essays in a social history of ideas

Enlightenment past and present : essays in a social history of ideas / Anthony J. La Vopa.
[Liverpool] : Liverpool University Press ; Oxford : Voltaire Foundation, [2022]
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x, 423 pages ; 24 cm.
"Over the last three decades Anthony La Vopa has extended his reach as an Enlightenment historian from Germany to England, Scotland, and France. Enlightenment Past and Present: Essays in a Social History of Ideas provides insights into all four contexts, with a view to understanding the Enlightenment's contours in spaces that were distinct but nonetheless shared in a European-wide engagement with a cluster of political, social, and cultural issues. The volume explores a wide variety of themes in the formation of modernity, including the construction of a public, the emergence of modern feminism, the problematic legitimacy of sexuality and marriage, the ideal and practice of friendship, patron-client relations, the conversational sociability of politeness, and the evolution of the essay as a genre. La Vopa aims to demonstrate in practice the new interest in restoring the social to intellectual history without falling back into reductionism. He throws a spotlight on a number of key texts in eighteenth-century philosophy. In several essays, La Vopa employs the resources of meaning in rhetorical cultures with thick social contexts to present Enlightenment texts not simply as print records, but as rhetorical performances with specific audiences. He also often intertwines contexts by focusing on biographical experience, using 'private' life traces such as diaries and other forms of correspondence, to enhance our understanding of published discourse. While drawing on the history of philosophy, the volume takes a decidedly more historical path through the canon. It includes essay reviews which take stock of developments in Enlightenment studies via critical appraisals of major recent contributions to the field."-- Provided by publisher.
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Added to Catalog
April 24, 2023
Oxford University studies in the Enlightenment ; 2022:09.
Oxford University studies in the Enlightenment, 2022:09
Includes bibliographical references (pages 377-408) and index.
Introduction: finding meaning in the Enlightenment
Part 1: Theory and method
Chapter 1: Conceiving a public: ideas and society in eighteenth-century Europe
Chapter 2: A new intellectual history? Jonathan Israel's Enlightenment
Chapter 3: Doing Fichte: reflections of a sobered (but unrepentant) contextual biographer Part 2: Gender
Chapter 4: Women, gender, and the Enlightenment: a historical turn
Chapter 5: Thinking about marriage: Kant's liberalism and the peculiar morality of conjugal union
Chapter 6: The fragility of polite character: the friendship between James Boswell and William Johnson Temple
Part 3: Language, philosophy, and the imagination
Chapter 7: Herder's Publikum: language, print, and sociability in eighteenth-century Germany
Chapter 8: The philosopher and the Schwärmer: on the career of a German Epithet from Luther to Kant
Chapter 9: History, Philosophy, and the imagination in Enlightenment studies
Chapter 10: Specialization run amok? Contextualizing Denis Diderot
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University of Oxford.

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