The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment

Dena Goodman

Published by Cornell University Press, 1994
ISBN 10: 0801481740 / ISBN 13: 9780801481741
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Synopsis: In the first major reinterpretation of the French Enlightenment in twenty years, Dena Goodman moves beyond the traditional approach to the Enlightenment as a chapter in Western intellectual history and examines its deeper significance as cultural history. She finds the very epicenter of the Enlightenment in a community of discourse known as the Republic of Letters, where salons governed by women advanced the Enlightenment project "to change the common way of thinking." Goodman details the history of the Republic of Letters in the Parisian salons, where men and women, philosophes and salonnieres, together not only introduced reciprocity into intellectual life through the practices of letter writing and polite conversation but also developed a republican model of government that was to challenge the monarchy. Providing a new understanding of women's importance in the Enlightenment, Goodman demonstrates that in the Republic of Letters men and women played complementary - and unequal - roles. Salonnieres governed the Republic of Letters by enforcing rules of polite conversation that made possible a discourse characterized by liberty and civility. Goodman chronicles the story of the Republic of Letters from its earliest formation through major periods of change: the production of the Encyclopedia, the proliferation of a print culture that widened circles of readership beyond the control of salon governance, and the early years of the French Revolution. Although the legacy of the Republic of Letters remained a force in French cultural and political life, in the 1780s men formed new intellectual institutions that asserted their ability to govern themselves and that marginalized women. TheRepublic of Letters introduces provocative explanations both for the failure of the Enlightenment and for the role of the Enlightenment in the French Revolution.

From Library Journal: Goodman (history, Louisiana State Univ.) aims to re-create the social and cultural context in which the ideas of the Enlightenment were created and spread. Drawing from the work of Jurgen Habermas (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, MIT Pr., 1989), she traces the creation of a public intellectual community in France from the 17th century and explains its development through the French Revolution. Challenging traditional Enlightenment historiography, Goodman describes the Enlightenment as a set of social practices in which both men and women participated. She argues that historians have not taken a positive or serious view of the role of the salonnieres. The 1780s, however, saw the emergence of new intellectual institutions in which women were not as central, and an age of "masculine self governance" was born. A difficult but important book that will appeal to scholars of French history and culture.
Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll.,
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History ...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 1994
Book Condition: Good
Edition: New Ed.

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Book Description Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1996. Book Condition: Very good. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dustjacket. 8vo pp. xii 338.paperback edition. "In the first major reinterpretation of the French Enlightenment in twenty years, Dena Goodman moves beyond the traditional approach to the Enlightenment as a chapter in Western intellectual history and examines its deeper significance as cultural history. She finds the very epicenter of the Enlightenment in a community of discourse known. book. Bookseller Inventory # 197473

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In the first major reinterpretation of the French Enlightenment in twenty years, Dena Goodman moves beyond the traditional approach to the Enlightenment as a chapter in Western intellectual history and examines its deeper significance as cultural history. She finds the very epicenter of the Enlightenment in a community of discourse known as the Republic of Letters, where salons governed by women advanced the Enlightenment project to change the common way of thinking. Goodman details the history of the Republic of Letters in the Parisian salons, where men and women, philosophes and salonnieres, together not only introduced reciprocity into intellectual life through the practices of letter writing and polite conversation but also developed a republican model of government that was to challenge the monarchy. Providing a new understanding of women s importance in the Enlightenment, Goodman demonstrates that in the Republic of Letters men and women played complementary - and unequal - roles. Salonnieres governed the Republic of Letters by enforcing rules of polite conversation that made possible a discourse characterized by liberty and civility. Goodman chronicles the story of the Republic of Letters from its earliest formation through major periods of change: the production of the Encyclopedia, the proliferation of a print culture that widened circles of readership beyond the control of salon governance, and the early years of the French Revolution. Although the legacy of the Republic of Letters remained a force in French cultural and political life, in the 1780s men formed new intellectual institutions that asserted their ability to govern themselves and that marginalized women. TheRepublic of Letters introduces provocative explanations both for the failure of the Enlightenment and for the role of the Enlightenment in the French Revolution. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780801481741

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In the first major reinterpretation of the French Enlightenment in twenty years, Dena Goodman moves beyond the traditional approach to the Enlightenment as a chapter in Western intellectual history and examines its deeper significance as cultural history. She finds the very epicenter of the Enlightenment in a community of discourse known as the Republic of Letters, where salons governed by women advanced the Enlightenment project to change the common way of thinking. Goodman details the history of the Republic of Letters in the Parisian salons, where men and women, philosophes and salonnieres, together not only introduced reciprocity into intellectual life through the practices of letter writing and polite conversation but also developed a republican model of government that was to challenge the monarchy. Providing a new understanding of women s importance in the Enlightenment, Goodman demonstrates that in the Republic of Letters men and women played complementary - and unequal - roles. Salonnieres governed the Republic of Letters by enforcing rules of polite conversation that made possible a discourse characterized by liberty and civility. Goodman chronicles the story of the Republic of Letters from its earliest formation through major periods of change: the production of the Encyclopedia, the proliferation of a print culture that widened circles of readership beyond the control of salon governance, and the early years of the French Revolution. Although the legacy of the Republic of Letters remained a force in French cultural and political life, in the 1780s men formed new intellectual institutions that asserted their ability to govern themselves and that marginalized women. TheRepublic of Letters introduces provocative explanations both for the failure of the Enlightenment and for the role of the Enlightenment in the French Revolution. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780801481741

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