The Enlightenment (Making of Europe)

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9780631205111: The Enlightenment (Making of Europe)
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The Enlightenment was a movement of intellectual change that penetrated every European country as well as North America during the eighteenth century.

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The Enlightenment was a movement of intellectual change thatpenetrated every European country as well as North America duringthe eighteenth century. It aimed to emancipate human reason fromprejudice, superstition, and the assertions of establishedreligion. It sought then to apply rationality to the cause ofpolitical and social reform, above all to progress - itself a keyEnlightenment notion. In this wide-ranging introduction, Ulrich ImHof describes the origins and development of Enlightenment ideas,and traces their effects on European and American thought, politicsand society.


The author begins with an account of eighteenth-century Europeanand American intellectual, political, and social life. He describesthe universities, academies, salons, and reading societies fromwhich the principal ideas of the Enlightenment emerged and heexamines their diffusion, interaction, and influence. Enlightenmentideas provided a basis at once for democracy, enlighteneddespotism, and anarchy; they informed, even impelled, the greatrevolutions in France and America, as well as the regimes thatfollowed them; they were at once the centre and the cause of thegreat flowering of learning that took place throughout the Europeanworld.
Professor Im Hof concludes by examining the progress ofEnlightenment thought in the nineteenth century, thecounter-movement of Romanticism, and the degree to which reason andrationality continue to hold sway at the turn of the twentiethcentury. This account of the interaction of ideas and events willbe widely welcomed by all students of what is perhaps the centralintellectual movement of modern times.

About the Author:

Ulrich Im Hof studied at the University of Basle, and since 1965 has been lecturer in Swiss history and general modern History at the University of Bonn, as well as the Director of the Department of Swiss History at the University of Bern. Among his publications are Das gesellige Jahrhundert. Gesellschaft und Gesellschaften in Seitalter der Aufklarung (1982) and Geschichte der Schweiz (1987).

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