Michael Brown The Irish Enlightenment

ISBN 13: 9780674045774

The Irish Enlightenment

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9780674045774: The Irish Enlightenment
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During the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, Scotland and England produced such well-known figures as David Hume, Adam Smith, and John Locke. Ireland’s contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received much less attention. Offering a corrective to the view that Ireland was intellectually stagnant during this period, The Irish Enlightenment considers a range of artists, writers, and philosophers who were full participants in the pan-European experiment that forged the modern world.

Michael Brown explores the ideas and innovations percolating in political pamphlets, economic and religious tracts, and literary works. John Toland, Francis Hutcheson, Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley, Edmund Burke, Maria Edgeworth, and other luminaries, he shows, participated in a lively debate about the capacity of humans to create a just society. In a nation recovering from confessional warfare, religious questions loomed large. How should the state be organized to allow contending Christian communities to worship freely? Was the public confession of faith compatible with civil society? In a society shaped by opposing religious beliefs, who is enlightened and who is intolerant?

The Irish Enlightenment opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, but it was short-lived. Divisions concerning methodological commitments to empiricism and rationalism resulted in an increasingly antagonistic conflict over questions of religious inclusion. This fracturing of the Irish Enlightenment eventually destroyed the possibility of civilized, rational discussion of confessional differences. By the end of the eighteenth century, Ireland again entered a dark period of civil unrest whose effects were still evident in the late twentieth century.

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About the Author:

Michael Brown is Chair of Irish, Scottish and Enlightenment History at the University of Aberdeen.

Review:

[Brown] demonstrates the existence of a significant Enlightenment project in Ireland in the 18th century, a project premised on the basic humanist principle that ‘man, not God, is the starting point of understanding.’ In so doing, Brown recommends that we go beyond the received view of Ireland as a culture crippled by sectarian politics and restore its intellectual heritage within a more capacious horizon of European and Atlantic history. Against the colonial prejudice that saw Ireland as a place of mayhem and barbarism, Brown constructs a counter-narrative of a vibrant intellectual culture informed by ideas of civility and tolerance. He claims that an important Irish Enlightenment flourished for a period between the War of the Two Kings (James and William, 1688–1691) and the 1790s, before regressing into conflicts of ethnic and religious identity in the 19th century... This controversial reading of the modern Irish mind is a very welcome addition to the ongoing 2016 debates about where Ireland comes from and where it hopes to go. (Richard Kearney Irish Times 2016-06-18)

As Michael Brown points out in The Irish Enlightenment, Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley, and Edmund Burke are among several writers who gave the age of reason a distinct Irish accent. (Brendan Walsh The Tablet 2016-06-18)

Masterfully guided by Brown, whose comprehensive gaze embraces books both canonical and obscure, texts written in Gaelic as well as those written in English, works written by women and men, and writings emerging from all fractions of society, we are led to see traces of Enlightenment in the most unlikely places. This is exemplary history. It both reformulates an important problem, and draws swathes of new material into the scholarly conversation. (David Womersley Standpoint 2016-07-01)

The Irish Enlightenment has always been seen as something of a poor relation to its English and Scottish siblings. Michael Brown’s groundbreaking book explodes the caricature, revealing how Irish thinkers and writers had a passionate ‘commitment to a life of the mind’ that matched anything elsewhere in Europe or the Americas. Bold engagement with social, religious and political issues revealed an Ireland that was most certainly not ‘in a moribund, catatonic state.’ (Catholic Herald 2016-09-09)

Impressively detailed scholarship...Brown...has written a big, brave and important book. He has authoritatively shown that a debate about enlightenment took place in Ireland and that the debate was in part constitutive of the phenomenon itself. (David Dwan Times Literary Supplement 2016-10-14)

A comprehensive survey of this understudied field. (M. G. Spencer Choice 2016-11-01)

With The Irish Enlightenment, Brown has produced a distinctive, illuminating and often challenging synthesis, with which historians both of Ireland and of the wider Enlightenment need to engage... Above all, The Irish Enlightenment leaves its readers enlightened. (Robert Armstrong History Today 2017-04-01)

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Scotland and England produced many well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland s contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. The Irish Enlightenment considers a range of artists, writers, and philosophers who were full participants in the pan-European experiment that forged the modern world. John Toland, Francis Hutcheson, Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley, Edmund Burke, and Maria Edgeworth are among the Irish luminaries who participated in debate about the capacity of humans to use reason and independent thinking to create a just society. In a nation recovering from confessional warfare, religious questions loomed large. How should the state be organized to allow contending Christian communities to worship freely? Was the public confession of faith compatible with civil society? In a society shaped by opposing religious beliefs, who is enlightened and who is intolerant? The Irish Enlightenment opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, but it was short-lived. Divisions concerning methodological commitments to empiricism and rationalism resulted in an increasingly antagonistic conflict over questions of religious inclusion. By the end of the eighteenth century, Michael Brown shows, Ireland again entered a dark period of unrest whose effects were still evident in the late twentieth century. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780674045774

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Scotland and England produced many well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland s contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. The Irish Enlightenment considers a range of artists, writers, and philosophers who were full participants in the pan-European experiment that forged the modern world. John Toland, Francis Hutcheson, Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley, Edmund Burke, and Maria Edgeworth are among the Irish luminaries who participated in debate about the capacity of humans to use reason and independent thinking to create a just society. In a nation recovering from confessional warfare, religious questions loomed large. How should the state be organized to allow contending Christian communities to worship freely? Was the public confession of faith compatible with civil society? In a society shaped by opposing religious beliefs, who is enlightened and who is intolerant? The Irish Enlightenment opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, but it was short-lived. Divisions concerning methodological commitments to empiricism and rationalism resulted in an increasingly antagonistic conflict over questions of religious inclusion. By the end of the eighteenth century, Michael Brown shows, Ireland again entered a dark period of unrest whose effects were still evident in the late twentieth century. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780674045774

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Book Description Harvard University Press, 2016. Condition: New. Scotland and England produced well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland's contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. Michael Brown shows that Ireland also had its Enlightenment, which for a brief time opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, despite a history of sectarian conflict. Num Pages: 560 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBR; HBJD; HBLL. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 235 x 156. . . 2016. Hardcover. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780674045774

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Book Description Harvard University Press. Condition: New. Scotland and England produced well-known intellectuals during the Enlightenment, but Ireland's contribution to this revolution in Western thought has received less attention. Michael Brown shows that Ireland also had its Enlightenment, which for a brief time opened up the possibility of a tolerant society, despite a history of sectarian conflict. Num Pages: 560 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBR; HBJD; HBLL. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 235 x 156. . . 2016. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780674045774

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