Freedom of Speech: The History of an Idea (Aperçus: Histories Texts Cultures)

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9781611483857: Freedom of Speech: The History of an Idea (Aperçus: Histories Texts Cultures)

The essays in this volume portray the debates concerning freedom of speech in eighteenth-century France and Britain as
well as in Austria, Denmark, Russia, and Spain and its American territories. Representing the views of both moderate and radical
eighteenth-century thinkers, these essays by eminent scholars discover that twenty-fi rst-century controversies regarding the extent of permissible speech have their origins in the eighteenth century. The economic integration of Europe and its offshoots over the past three centuries into a distinctive cultural product, “the West,” has given rise to a triumphant Enlightenment narrative of universalism and tolerance that masks these divisions and the disparate national contributions to freedom of speech and other liberal rights.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Powers was chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Eighteenthth-Century European Culture from 2003 to 2010. She is a scholar of German literature and is currently writing a study of Goethe's concept of world literature.

Review:

This intriguing history, a compilation of essays, traces freedom of speech via a number of thinkers, movements, and radical events. Elizabeth Powers offers both an introduction and conclusion that serve to question what the freedom of speech is doing in modern society and, furthermore, how the history of the idea itself, with its different incarnations, influences how we perceive this freedom worldwide ,but specifically in the West.... Freedom of Speech: The History of an Idea succeeds in providing a way to renew our understanding of the ideas that preceded the institutionalization of freedom of speech and dealing with those in a modern West.

(The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer)

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