The eighteenth-century Enlightenment was one of the most exciting and significant currents of European culture. Battling against tyranny, ignorance and superstition, it formulated the ideals which still inform our society today: a belief in reason, criticism, freedom of thought, religion and expression, the value of science, the pursuit of progress. Enlightenment thinkers undermined the ancien regime and provided the ideas for the French Revolution. Modern scholarship, however, has shown it was a more complex and ambiguous movement than commonly recognized. This book, now in a fully updated second edition, sympathetically explores the complexities of the Enlightenment. Synthesizing and evaluating the latest scholarship, it offers a new and comprehensive vision of this many-faceted movement.
Reviews of the first edition: 'Roy Porter provides an entertaining, vigorous and accessible discussion of a concept that can easily appear hopelessly confusing, if not entirely elusive.' - Derek Beales, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 'This volume may confidently be recommended to its intended audience. Books of this kind are the hardest of all to write, and not all experts wear their learning lightly enough to succeed. Roy Porter does, and is cordially to be thanked.' - Alan P.F. Sell, Aberystwyth and Lampeter University School of Theology
About Roy Porter
ROY PORTER sometime Professor in the Social History of Medicine at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London. He has written widely on the history of medicine, psychiatry and the Enlightenment. His recent books include Doctor of Society: Thomas Beddoes and the Sick Trade in Late Enlightenment England (1991), London: A Social History (1994) and 'The Greatest Benefit to Mankind': A Medical History of Humanity (1997).
Table of Contents
Introduction and Acknowledgements.- What Was the Enlightenment?.- The Goal: A Science of Man.- The Politics of Enlightenment.- Reforming Religion by Reason.- Who Was the Enlightenment?.- Unity or Diversity?.- Movement or Mentalite?.- Conclusion: Did the Enlightenment Matter?.- Reading Suggestions.- Index.
The Enlightenment by Roy Porter
Studies in European History
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